Hyderabad: Experts at the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal have developed a low cost 'Crowd and Mask' monitoring system to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Wearing masks is among the primary precautions adopted to prevent COVID-19 spread along with social distancing. With the institute commencing the process of bringing students back to campus in phases, this AI-powered system will help maintain a minimum of three feet of social distancing.
In an initiative to tackle the spread of COVID-19, Dr PB Sujit, associate professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, along with Dr Mitradip Bhattacharjee and Dr Santanu Talukdar, assistant professors, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Dr Venkateshwar Rao, assistant professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IISER Bhopal, and BSMS Student Kasi Viswanath developed this AI-enabled device that can replicate manual policing to ensure the COVID-19 prevention norms are being followed.
Elaborating about this innovation, Dr Sujit said, "We wanted a simple advisory system to warn students of breaching social distancing norms at selected locations."
To achieve the desired outcome, the innovators used the principles of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI-ML) in a high definition camera attached to a microchip computer and a 5V battery in a 3D printed case to monitor the movement of people in the campus. If the camera detects that the social distancing and mask norms were not being followed, the device starts alerting the crowd with a pre-recorded message.
The innovators deployed the device at the campus in October 2020 and continuously improved it till it became stable with minimum false alarms. As a result, people have become sensitive to the social distancing violation and are following the safety protocol with more caution. The innovators are planning to open source the complete system along with a how-to-use tutorial for the betterment of society in such disruptive times.
"Given the opportunity, this device can be deployed at various crowded public places to ensure basic safety rules are not violated in times of the pandemic," the IISER Bhopal team said.