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acoustic SCene ANalysis for Detecting Living Entities (SCANDLE)
Start date: Mar 2, 2009, End date: Mar 1, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Description An acoustic system which can recognise human or animal movement.Living beings constantly give sonic clues about their presence as they move, breathe and interact with the world around them. Sounds also bounce off other objects in the environment; a source of further contextual information. In SCANDLE we propose to develop a cognitive acoustic scene analysis system that will detect and characterise the behaviour of living beings solely through sounds generated or modulated by their actions and interactions with the environment; an acoustic analogy to a camera-based visual scene analysis system.The ultimate goal of SCANDLE is to engineer a real-time system that uses sound alone to decide whether an animate being is nearby, where it is, and what it is doing. In doing so the system will also make use of a novel micro-Doppler sonar system to generate and detect modulations in sounds caused by movements. This highly innovative multidisciplinary project builds upon fundamental research by ourselves and others in the fields of physics, acoustics, auditory neuroscience, human psychophysics, engineering and computer science. In addition, we are conducting new experiments designed to answer specific scientific questions related to the neural correlates of object formation and representations in the brain.In SCANDLE we draw on biological inspiration in the design of a computational system, emulating the perceptual processing strategies employed by humans and animals for robust real-time operation in real-world scenarios.  By understanding the constraints and costs associated with design choices in the brain, SCANDLE is also making advances in optimising the design of distributed computing architectures for massively parallel computation. The net result is a methodology for determining the architecture of specialised embedded systems and for compiling neural models for real-time operation on these systems.In coming years this technology will give rise to many innovative and valuable applications, moving us into the realm of truly neuromorphic cognitive machines. For example, the system could be used to intelligently monitor home environments to facilitate independent living for the elderly or to optimise energy usage; using only sound information, issues of the invasion of privacy are reduced. Interactive gaming systems that understand peoples’ behaviour, remote monitoring and identification of animals or fish based on their movements, and detecting life where visual contact is obscured are just some of the exciting applications that will become possible using SCANDLE technology.

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