Briefing: Chinese gait recognition technology spots the way you walk

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Chinese ‘gait recognition’ tech IDs people by how they walk – Associated Press

What happened: Chinese authorities have begun deploying gait recognition technology to identify individuals by how they walk and by their body shapes. The software can identify a targeted individual even when their face is obscured. Gait recognition is currently being used on the streets of Beijing and Shanghai, and it can be used in conjunction with already existing surveillance cameras. It is effective within a range of 50 meters.

Why it’s important: Chinese police already using facial recognition software around the country to identify wanted persons. However, there are limitations. The technology generally requires high-resolution cameras and the target’s face to be unobscured. According to researchers, gait recognition is harder to fool because an individual’s entire body is being analyzed. Nonetheless, the technology is still in its infancy and cannot be used in real time. Footage is required to be uploaded and then analyzed, taking about 10 minutes for one hour of video. It’s not all doom and gloom though; the software can be used in applications outside surveillance, including identifying people in distress.