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Project Title:  Automatic Video-based Motion Analysis (PI=Christoudias) Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2013 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP SHFH:Space Human Factors & Habitability (archival in 2017)
Start Date: 01/01/2013  
End Date: 08/31/2015  
Task Last Updated: 08/19/2015 
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Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Christoudias, Mario  Ph.D. / Vecna Technologies, Inc. 
Address:  6404 Ivy Lane, Suite 500 
Greenbelt , MD 20770-1423 
Phone: (617) 864-0636 x3133  
Congressional District:
Organization Type: INDUSTRY 
Organization Name: Vecna Technologies, Inc. 
Joint Agency:  
Comments: Vecna Technologies, Inc. corporate address is Greenbelt, MD. PI is located at Vecna location in Cambridge, MA.  
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: NOTE: PI change from Neal Checka to C. Mario Christoudias, Ph.D. in 2015. Additional personnel are Prasad, Harsha MS; Kethamakka, Sai MS; and Thangali, Ashwin PhD.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. NNX13CA06C 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Whitmore, Mihriban  
Center Contact: 281-244-1004 
Solicitation / Funding Source: SBIR Phase II 
Grant/Contract No.: NNX13CA06C 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:  
No. of PhD Candidates:  
No. of Master's Candidates:  
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:  
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No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) SHFH:Space Human Factors & Habitability (archival in 2017)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Hab:Risk of an Incompatible Vehicle/Habitat Design
(2) Team:Risk of Performance and Behavioral Health Decrements Due to Inadequate Cooperation, Coordination, Communication, and Psychosocial Adaptation within a Team (IRP Rev F)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) SHFE-HAB-09:We need to identify technologies, tools, and methods for data collection, modeling, and analysis that are appropriate for design and assessment of vehicles/habitats (e.g., net habitable volume, layout, and usage) for predetermined mission attributes, and for refinement and validation of level of acceptable risk (IRP Rev E)
(2) Team Gap 02:We need to identify a set of validated measures, based on the key indicators of team function, to effectively monitor and measure team health and performance fluctuations during autonomous, long duration and/or distance exploration missions (IRP Rev E)
Task Description: Understanding task performance and crew behavioral health is crucial to mission success and to the optimal design, development, and operation of next-generation spacecraft. Onboard resources, like a conventional 2D video camera, can capture crew motion and interaction; however, there is a critical need for a software tool that achieves unobtrusive, non-invasive, automatic analysis of crew activity from this footage.

The proposed automatic video-based motion analysis software (AVIMA) supports this R&D effort by automatically processing and analyzing complex human motions in conventional 2D video without the use of specialized markers. Unlike many video analytics solutions, AVIMA goes beyond simple blob-based video analysis by tracking the geometric configuration of human body parts like the trunk, head, and limbs. This tracking enables human motion understanding algorithms to model and recognize complex human actions and interactions.

The resulting system will represent a substantial breakthrough providing benefits to an array of applications in video surveillance, human-computer interaction, human factors engineering, and robotics.

Aims for Phase II:

Phase II work will leverage the Phase I preliminary designs and prototype results to design and implement a complete human motion analysis and visualization tool.

1. Enhance the human motion analysis module to automatically estimate 3D human body pose from 2D video footage and to enable quick and robust tracking across a variety of operating scenarios.

2. Investigate and implement a video analytics module that employs state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms to interpret the subjects’ movements with respect to their operational environment, objects in the environment, and other crewmates.

3. Design and implement a user friendly graphical user interface that allows the user to define events/actions to recognize, visualize, and quantify results more quickly.

4. Evaluate the usability, accuracy and robustness of the individual algorithms as well as the end-to-end software system both qualitatively and quantitatively. Test the prototype with potential end-users at NASA.

Aims for Phase II E: Phase II E continues the work from Phase II, focusing on pursuing 2-D video analysis focusing on microgravity video (i.e., floating postures for person detection and tracking)

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS: Vecna expects the full-scope software system to have immediate and tangible benefit for NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD). ESMD focuses on the human element of exploration by conducting research to ensure astronaut explorers are safe, healthy and can perform their work during long-duration space exploration. Task performance and crew behavioral health are key concerns in the design, development, and operation of next generation space vehicles. Operations in confined, isolated, and resource-constrained environments can lead to suboptimal human performance. As such, there is a critical need for Vecna's proposed software tool that automatically processes and analyzes crew motion and interaction from video footage captured by a single conventional 2D video camera. Such a diagnostic tool will enable unobtrusive and non-invasive measurement of task performance and crew behavioral health.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: The proposed technology is applicable to a wide range of Department of Defense (DoD) and intelligence community areas including force protection, counter-terrorism, human activity monitoring, and surveillance and tracking. We see significant potential for application of this tool to support a range of tactical and strategic systems, including shipboard Navy CIC centers, Army field C3I centers, or USAF theater airborne command posts. A number of programs sponsored by the DoD (FCS, HumanID, CTS, Mind's Eye, Rail Security Pilot) employ video-based monitoring systems and would benefit from the proposed system. Also, Vecna will investigate commercialization opportunities in other sectors, including mobile robotics, interactive displays, and visual surveillance. Initial analysis of these market segments reveal both unaddressed needs as well as vast potential for rapid adoption and growth.

As robotic systems become more commonplace in today's society, robust, intelligent interaction between humans and robots is essential. To interact with humans in a lifelike manner requires the robot to infer physical intentions based on visual cues. The proposed technology could potentially revolutionize human-robot interaction. In the surveillance market, automated screening provides an immediate and extant application opportunity for AVIMA. Digital signage and displays provide another venue for applying the AVIMA technology within healthcare.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2013 
Task Progress: New project for FY2013. Reporting not required for this SBIR Phase 2 project.

NOTE also PI change in 2015 from Neal Checka to C. Mario Christoudias, Ph.D.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: ) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 None in FY 2013