Dubbed the Marauder’s Map after the magical map used by Harry Potter, the system takes security camera footage and analyses it using an algorithm that combines facial recognition, colour matching of clothing, and a person’s expected position based on their last known location. The main challenge in designing the map, says Shoou-I Yu, a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was finding and following individuals in complex indoor environments where walls and furniture can block the cameras. He and his colleagues found a solution by combining several tracking techniques. For example, an individual whose clothes are the same colour, and whose facial features correspond to those of the person who appears just a few frames back in the footage suggests that the two are a match.

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