STARS (Spatio-Temporal Activity Recognition Systems) is focused on the design of cognitive systems for Activity Recognition. We aim at endowing cognitive systems with perceptual capabilities to reason about an observed environment, to provide a variety of services to people living in this environment while preserving their privacy. In today world, a huge amount of new sensors and new hardware devices are currently available, addressing potentially new needs of the modern society. However the lack of automated processes (with no human interaction) able to extract a meaningful and accurate information (i.e. a correct understanding of the situation) has often generated frustrations among the society and especially among older people. Therefore, Stars objective is to propose novel autonomous systems for the real-time semantic interpretation of dynamic scenes observed by sensors. We study long-term spatio-temporal activities performed by several interacting agents such as human beings, animals and vehicles in the physical world. Such systems also raise fundamental software engineering problems to specify them as well as to adapt them at run time.

We propose new techniques at the frontier between computer vision, knowledge engineering, machine learning and software engineering. The major challenge in semantic interpretation of dynamic scenes is to bridge the gap between the task dependent interpretation of data and the flood of measures provided by sensors. The problems we address range from physical object detection, activity understanding, activity learning to vision system design and evaluation. The two principal classes of human activities we focus on, are assistance to older adults and video analytics.

A typical example of a complex activity is shown in Figure and Figure for a homecare application. In this example, the duration of the monitoring of an older person apartment could last several months. The activities involve interactions between the observed person and several pieces of equipment. The application goal is to recognize the everyday activities at home through formal activity models (as shown in Figure ) and data captured by a network of sensors embedded in the apartment. Here typical services include an objective assessment of the frailty level of the observed person to be able to provide a more personalized care and to monitor the effectiveness of a prescribed therapy. The assessment of the frailty level is performed by an Activity Recognition System which transmits a textual report (containing only meta-data) to the general practitioner who follows the older person. Thanks to the recognized activities, the quality of life of the observed people can thus be improved and their personal information can be preserved.

Homecare monitoring: the set of sensors embedded in an apartment

Homecare monitoring: the different views of the apartment captured by 4 video cameras

Homecare monitoring: example of an activity model describing a scenario related to the preparation of a meal with a high-level language

The ultimate goal is for cognitive systems to perceive and understand their environment to be able to provide appropriate services to a potential user. An important step is to propose a computational representation of people activities to adapt these services to them. Up to now, the most effective sensors have been video cameras due to the rich information they can provide on the observed environment. These sensors are currently perceived as intrusive ones. A key issue is to capture the pertinent raw data for adapting the services to the people while preserving their privacy. We plan to study different solutions including of course the local processing of the data without transmission of images and the utilisation of new compact sensors developed for interaction (also called RGB-Depth sensors, an example being the Kinect) or networks of small non visual sensors.

International and Industrial Cooperation

Our work has been applied in the context of more than 10 European projects such as COFRIEND, ADVISOR, SERKET, CARETAKER, VANAHEIM, SUPPORT, DEM@CARE, VICOMO. We had or have industrial collaborations in several domains: transportation (CCI Airport Toulouse Blagnac, SNCF, Inrets, Alstom, Ratp, GTT (Italy), Turin GTT (Italy)), banking (Crédit Agricole Bank Corporation, Eurotelis and Ciel), security (Thales R&T FR, Thales Security Syst, EADS, Sagem, Bertin, Alcatel, Keeneo), multimedia (Multitel (Belgium), Thales Communications, Idiap (Switzerland)), civil engineering (Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (CSTB)), computer industry (BULL), software industry (AKKA), hardware industry (ST-Microelectronics) and health industry (Philips, Link Care Services, Vistek).

We have international cooperations with research centers such as Reading University (UK), ENSI Tunis (Tunisia), National Cheng Kung University, National Taiwan University (Taiwan), MICA (Vietnam), IPAL, I2R (Singapore), University of Southern California, University of South Florida, University of Maryland (USA).