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Communications of the ACM


Decoding the Language of Human Movement

weightlifter in action

Image captured from video of a weightlifter in action.

Credit: Pal2iyawit /

Researchers are combining techniques from different branches of artificial intelligence and statistical processing to give computers the ability to comprehend the language of human movement. Using these techniques, computer scientists hope to give automated systems the ability to understand what is happening in the sequences of images captured by the video cameras around us.

Jesus del Rincón, researcher at the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) based at the Queen's University of Belfast, U.K., points to defending against crime and terrorism as prime motivations. "If someone is on the public transport network and doing something strange, we want to use reasoning to model the intention of the attacker and work out what is going on."


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