360-degree surveillance cam sees all

The Department of Homeland Security's ISIS camera provides high-def 360-degree views of a scene with image-stitching technology.

Department of Homeland Security

If you think standard security cameras are an invasion of your privacy, the Department of Homeland Security is testing a surveillance cam that puts others to shame.

It gives law enforcement high-def, 360-degree footage of a scene. The feeds are integrated with image-stitching technology.

The Imaging System for Immersive Surveillance (ISIS) under development at the department's Science and Technology Directorate is a hemispherical group of cameras that deliver a "high-res video quilt," according to the DHS.

The ultrawide camera system streams distortion-free, real-time stitched video and has a resolution capacity of 100 megapixels, which is "as detailed as 50 full-HDTV movies playing at once, with optical detail to spare," the DHS said in a release. It has been built with off-the-shelf cameras, image processors, and software.

The ISIS interface can zoom in on certain areas without loss of clarity while continuing to capture the whole scene. A range of commercially available applications allows the system to perform functions such as automatically tracking objects, vehicles, or people picked out by a user--even against cluttered backgrounds. Another app can establish a visual "exclusion zone" and will alert users if it is breached.

The DHS has been testing ISIS at Boston's Logan airport since December 2009. Meanwhile, it's working on a second generation that will be no larger than a basketball but will shoot at higher resolution and with greater range. An infrared ISIS is also in the works for nighttime surveillance.

Like the headline on the release warns, there will be "no place to hide" from ISIS.

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