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An invention to fight COVID-19: The 'Crowd and Mask' Monitoring System

"We wanted a simple advisory system to warn students of breaching social distancing norms at selected locations," Dr. PB Sujit, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, IISER Bhopal, said

twitter-logoJoe C Mathew | February 22, 2021 | Updated 14:07 IST
An invention to fight COVID-19: The 'Crowd and Mask' Monitoring System
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Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Bhopal have developed a low-cost 'Crowd and Mask' Monitoring System, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The AI-enabled device will replicate manual policing to ensure COVID-19 prevention norms are being followed.

The institute plans to use this AI-powered system on its campus as it commences the process of bringing students back in phases. The students will be expected to maintain a minimum of three feet of social distancing.

The monitoring system works on 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 on the campus. If the camera detects that social distancing and mask norms are not being followed, the device will alert the crowd with a pre-recorded message.

"We wanted a simple advisory system to warn students of breaching social distancing norms at selected locations," Dr. P.B. Sujit, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, IISER Bhopal, said.

The innovators say they deployed the device in October 2020 and continuously improved it till it became stable with minimum false alarms. They claim that after the deployment of this system, people have become sensitive to social distancing violation and are following safety protocol with more caution. The researchers plan to open source the complete system along with a how-to-use tutorial to help society in such disruptive times. "Given the opportunity, this device can be deployed at various crowded public places to ensure that the basic safety rules are not violated in this tough time of Covid-19 pandemic," they say.

The research team included Dr. P.B. Sujit, 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.

Established by the Ministry of Education (then Ministry of Human Resource & Development), Government of India, in 2008, IISER Bhopal is the youngest of the first five IISERs. The institution ranks 40th place in the National Institutional Ranking Framework, Ministry of Education, Government of India. It ranks 201 in the overall category of the QS Asia Ranking.

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