China’s Gait Recognition Can Identify People By Walk and Body Shape

If facial recognition doesn’t freak you out already, officials in China are deploying tech that can identify citizens simply by the shape of their body and how they walk.

Gait Recognition Surveillance China - YellRobot
credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

Gait Recognition Can ID by Body Shape and How People Walk

A new surveillance tech in China can identify people even if their faces are hidden from the camera. Gait Recognition software can analyze body shape and how a person walks to determine who they are. The software was developed by Beijing’s Watrix Technology.

The software extracts a silhouette from video and analyzes movement to create a model of the way a person walks and the shape of their body. No special cameras are needed as the software can utilize footage from typical security cams. It only needs a clear view of a person walking either from the front, back or side. The tech can identify people up to 165 feet away.

“You don’t need people’s cooperation for us to be able to recognize their identity,” said Huang Yongzhen, CEO of Watrix  “Gait analysis can’t be fooled by simply limping, walking with splayed feet or hunching over, because we’re analyzing all the features of an entire body.”

As of now, Gait Recognition doesn’t work in real time as users must upload videos into the program. It then takes about ten minutes for the software to analyze an hour of video.

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Gait Recognition Surveillance China - YellRobot
credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

Gait Recognition Deployed in Beijing and Shanghai

Gait Recognition isn’t new. Scientists in Japan, the US, and Great Britain have been researching the tech for over a decade. China is the first place to actively use it in surveillance.

Officials feel Gait Recognition can be a valuable partner to facial recognition which needs an up-close image of a person’s face to make a proper identification. Beyond surveillance, officials feel Gait Recognition can also be used to spot people in distress such as a those experiencing a medical situation or a lost child.

China has already introduced the Gait Recognition software to cameras in Beijing and Shanghai. The country’s aggressive surveillance of citizens has raised more than a few concerns. While tech like this is impressive, how reliable is it? Could it further fears of citizens, that they are under constant watch by their government?

Tell us what you think in the comments.

Check out our articles on Facial Recognition identifying angry customers and police drones that patrol the skies.