Final Report Summary - CHAMELEON (To develop a cost-effective, fast-to-deploy, low-power and flexible video surveillance system that automatically combines images from multiple cameras to create a 180˚ panoramic view.)
The CHAMELEON system is a cost-effective and low-power video surveillance system that outputs panoramic views at the monitoring station. The system uses secure and high speed wireless technology to stream video information to the authorized user. Its proprietary low complex hardware architecture makes it power efficient achieving more battery lifetime than its competitors. The system can run on both wireless IP and Ethernet.
The CHAMELEON project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme managed by the Research Executive Agency under grant agreement 286510. Seven participants worked on the realization of the project between January 2012 and December 2013. The project was coordinated by Malta Industrial Innovation for SMEs (Malta), and the other partners of this project were EOINTEC Solutions Ltd (Ireland), Embedded Wireless GmbH (Germany), SIQR (Italy), Euroalarm (Czech Republic), SignalGenerix Ltd (Cyprus) and Fachhochschule Ulm (Germany).
The CHAMELEON project team developed a cost-effective, fast-to-deploy and easy-to-operate, low-power and flexible video surveillance network that automatically combines images from multiple cameras with overlapping regions to create a natural seamless 180-degree panoramic view of the monitored area. This will greatly reduce the stress, boredom and lack of concentration experienced by security camera supervisors due to the information overload.
The innovative aspects of the CHAMELEON system are:
• The development and demonstration of a fast deployable, cost-effective and self-configurable video surveillance system that takes advantage of image overlapping redundancy to construct a natural 180-degree panoramic view of the monitored area at the observation station.
• The development of a flexible system that can be easily installed in a wired and wireless scenario according to the application requirements.
• The development of a low-power video-stitching unit, located at the camera site, which combines video streams from 3 CCTV cameras. This allows portable devices (smart phones and tablets) to stream and display the stitched video feed in real-time.
The operation of the CHAMELEON system is divided into 3 phases:
• Deployment phase:
The installers set up the video surveillance system. An interactive application, running on a portable device (tablet) will guide the installer to adjust the field-of-view of the cameras and to configure the network.
• Configuration phase:
The stitching unit automatically identifies the overlaps between the cameras and calculates stitching parameters for that camera setup.
The stitching unit synchronizes and collects video streams from three cameras, combines them, compresses the stitched video stream and transmits it over IP.
• Reliable and low-power wireless connectivity
• Fast deployment
• Interoperable system allowing for future modular extensions
• Very low-power consumption
• Up to 2 MP output resolution
• H.264 MPEG4 & MJPEG Compression
• 10/100 Mbps Ethernet
• Optional WLAN 802.11 g/a/n/ac
• RTSP Streaming & ONVIF Compliant
• Onboard SDHC storage (up to 32GB)
The CHAMELEON video surveillance system can be widely used in surveillance, remote monitoring, border control, temporary exhibitions and events, scenic regions, highways, bus and rail stations, car parks, plazas, sport meetings, office buildings and residence communities.
Project Context and Objectives:
The CHAMELEON Panoramic CCTV system consists of a stitching unit that automatically combines the video feeds from three composite Standard Definition (SD) cameras into a 2 Mega Pixel panoramic video stream. The panoramic video is compressed using the industry standard MPEG4/H.264 and it is streamed via the Internet Protocol using the Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP). A novel heterogeneous processing unit was developed using COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) processors to achieve a high performance, low-power, cost-effective and small form factor device. The stitching unit can run on battery power for 3 – 5 days. A WEB-based Video Management Software (VMS) was developed that allows the authorized users to configure the system upon installation and to view/record/playback video. The VMS runs on the WEB Server onboard the video processor and it is ONVIF compliant. This makes it possible to be accessed by any internet enabled device, including portable handheld devices such as tablets and smart phones. The VMS is very graphical and user friendly, making it very easy for the installer and operator to quickly configure and operate the system. An ultra-low-power IEEE802.11a/g/n/ac Wireless LAN card containing the ATHEROS IC was developed for wireless installation scenarios. The system has been tested and validated. Videos have been uploaded on YouTube:
Innovative aspects of the CHAMELEON system are:
• A high performance and yet low-power and cost-effective panoramic CCTV system that can run on an off-grid power supply and a wireless link.
• The development and demonstration of a fast deployable and self-configurable video surveillance system that takes advantage of image overlapping redundancy to construct a panoramic video stream of the monitored area.
• The development of a flexible system that can be easily installed in a wired and wireless scenario according to the application requirements.
• The development of a low-power video stitching unit, located at the camera site, which combines video streams from three composite Standard Definition CCTV cameras. This allows portable devices, such as tablets and smart phones, to configure the system and to view the video stream in real-time.
Typical installation scenarios of the CHAMELEON system include remote monitoring, border control, temporary exhibitions & events, scenic regions, highways, bus & railway stations, car parks, plazas, sport meetings, harsh & grid/communication service-deprived environments such as construction sites, quarries and mining sites.
The CHAMELEON system was developed by the collaboration of three research institutes, namely Ateknea Solutions Malta (before MIIS), SignalGenerix and Hochschule Ulm, together with the SME project partners.
The main Scientific Objectives are:
• Analyze the psychological impact of the CHAMELEON display on the security personnel.
• Carry a feasibility study of adding energy harvesting devices.
• Analyze the effect of applying the output panoramic video into an Intelligent Video Surveillance system.
The main Technological Objectives are:
• Feature extraction and matching algorithm: An available open source feature extraction and matching algorithm was optimized to extract salient features from the three CCTV images. The extracted features are robust and invariant to scale and camera orientations. Matching features located at image overlapping regions are used to generate a stitching model that is used by the stitching algorithm. The algorithm has been optimized for robustness and installation speed.
• Stitching algorithm: This process uses the calculated stitching model to combine the three separate incoming video streams into one panoramic video stream. Stitching is performed at the video frame rate.
• CHAMELEON hardware & firmware stitching unit: A novel heterogeneous processing unit was developed using COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) processors to achieve a high performance, low-power, cost-effective and small form factor device. The stitching unit can also run on battery power for 3 – 5 days. The back-end of the system is identical to a conventional IP camera making it interoperable with all commercially available NVRs.
• Optional Wireless LAN connection: An ultra-low-power and small-factor IEEE802.11a/b/g/n/ac ATHEROS Wireless LAN Card was developed to provide a reliable, secure and energy efficient wireless link that can stream video in scenarios where laying network cables is unfeasible or impossible.
• Video Management Software: A WEB-based VMS was developed to configure the CHAMELEON system during installation and to view/record/playback video. The VMS runs on a WEB Server inside the stitching unit. It contains a graphical user interface and it is very user-friendly. Installation can be done in very few minutes. The VMS is also ONVIF compliant and therefore can be accessed by commercially available NVRs that are also ONVIF compliant. The VMS can run on any internet enabled tablet and smart phone since it is WEB-based. A Link Budget Calculator APP was developed to analyze the throughput and range of a wireless link in different installation scenarios. This APP greatly reduces the network planning time.
• Integration, testing and validation: The components were integrated together into one system. The CHAMELEON system was tested and validated. Validation videos can be viewed on YouTube:
The Other Objectives related to training, dissemination and exploitation are listed below:
• Development of a website that was used to disseminate the status of the project and to provide interested parties regular updates of new features added to the system. The website contains links to the online demos and updated news feeds. The website can be viewed from here:
• Development of training plan and organization training workshops: a training plan was prepared and several training workshops where organized throughout the project duration. The training was open for the participating SMEs and also interested parties and policy makers.
• Dissemination of the project at IFSEC Security Fair at Birmingham UK in May 2013. Articles were written and published on the project.
The CHAMELEON system consists of four modules that when integrated together make up the whole system. Each module is a project result in itself. The four modules are:
- Feature extraction and stitching algorithms
- Hardware & firmware of the stitching unit
- Video Management Software
- Wireless LAN Card
The following section outlines each of the Scientific and Technological results that were generated during the project.
Feature extraction and stitching algorithm
SignalGenerix tailored an open source feature extraction and matching algorithm to work efficiently in a CCTV video surveillance environment. These modifications were necessary to make the algorithm more robust and less computationally intensive for fast deployment/installation. The algorithm extracts features from the three camera frames and automatically identifies the overlapping regions and the camera orientations with respect to each other. The algorithm builds a stitching model that is used by the stitching algorithm to combine the incoming three camera streams into a panoramic video stream. The stitching algorithm has been tailored to fit in the target hardware to reach high performances whilst maintaining a small computational, memory and power footprint. As a result the stitching algorithm consumes little hardware and memory resources and is performed at the video frame rate. These algorithms were fine-tuned a number of times when they were transferred on to the target hardware.
CHAMELEON hardware and firmware stitching unit
A novel heterogeneous processing unit was developed by Ateknea Solutions Malta (former MIIS) using COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) processors to achieve a high performance, low-power, cost-effective and small form factor device. The hardware setup, interface and drivers are proprietary to the CHAMELEON system. The stitching unit combines three video feeds into a 2 Mega Pixel panoramic video stream. This stream is compressed using either MPEG4 or H.264 and it is transferred onto the IP network via the Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP).
The stitching unit can also run on battery power for 3 – 5 days making it an attractive system to be installed in temporary events where the laying of power/communication cables is unfeasible. The back-end of the system is identical to a conventional IP camera making it interoperable with all commercially available NVRs. Currently, the stitching unit connects to three composite CCD Standard Definition cameras. This can be easily extended to four cameras, hence achieving a wider field of view. It is also possible to use CMOS cameras instead of CCD cameras. Minor hardware changes need to be done, however, the power consumption will reduce drastically.
Video Management Software
A WEB-based VMS was developed by Ateknea Solutions Malta to configure the CHAMELEON system during installation and to view/record/playback video. The VMS runs on a WEB Server inside the stitching unit. It contains a graphical user interface and it is very user-friendly. Installation can be done in very few minutes. The VMS is also ONVIF compliant and therefore can be accessed by commercially available NVRs that are also ONVIF compliant. The VMS can run on any internet enabled tablet and smart phone since it is WEB-based. A Link Budget Calculator APP was developed by Hochschule Ulm to analyze the throughput and range of a wireless link in different installation scenarios. This APP greatly reduces the network planning time.
Wireless LAN Card
The Institute of Communication Technology at the University of Applied Sciences Ulm (Hochschule Ulm) and embedded wireless GmbH developed the Wireless LAN Card and specified the architecture of the hardware and components for a tolerant, high performance and low power consuming module. The Wireless LAN card is needed to support the wireless connection of the CHAMELEON system. Based on a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) solution, the module offers a highly integrated and feature-rich IEEE 802.11n 2x2 2.4/5 GHz dual band solution. The Wireless LAN card supports 802.11n operations up to 144 Mbps for 20 MHz and 300 Mbps for 40 MHz respectively, and 802.11a/b/g data rates. Additional features include Maximal Likelihood (ML) decoding, Low-Density Parity Check (LDPC), Maximal Ratio Combining (MRC) and Tx Beamforming (TxBF). The WLAN module has a Sensitivity of 75 dBm and a mean burst output power of 15dBm @ 5.6 GHz - IEEE802.11a - 54 Mbit/s and a sensitivity of 76 dBm and a mean burst output power of 17dBm @ 2.412 GHz - IEEE802.11g - 54 Mbit/s. The maximal power consumption for continuous transmission (100% Tx, 1 Chain) is 2.6 W @ 5.6 GHz and 2.3 W @ 2.412 GHz. Throughput measurements showed a covered distance in a parking surveillance scenario of up to 140 m in a non line of sight wireless connection.
(i) Socio-Economic impact
End-users will benefit from more efficient and cost-effective video surveillance systems. Irrespective of the application, CHAMELEON will bring cost-savings for both installation and electricity costs to run the system.
There are also economic benefits for the manufacturers and distributors from producing and selling a new system. They add a new product to their portfolio, offer a competitive system to the market and get familiarized with state-of-the-art technology.
Security installers will spend less time in each installation and will require less equipment associated with trenching. This will improve their services and make them more competitive and greener. Moreover, CHAMELEON will open new market opportunities in security sectors which require wireless and low-power solutions. These include electronic visual patrolling of farm perimeters, traffic surveillance and surveillance of temporary outdoor events, exhibitions and border control.
(ii) Psychological impact of the panoramic video display on the security personnel
Compared to switching monitors or multiple monitors, a single panoramic video stream is more coherent (logical and well-organized) to the human vision and therefore relaxes the eyes. Video presentation is critical for fast detection and response or video manual post-analysis. During validation the CHAMELEON video output was demonstrated to potential customers and a positive feedback was received.
(iii) Economic impact of applying the output panoramic video into an Intelligent Video Surveillance (IVS) system.
Modern CCTV systems are employing IVS techniques to carry out continuous 24/7 monitoring of video feeds. These systems have proven benefits over traditional human video viewing. Applying IVS to a panoramic video stream instead of individual video streams will work better since complications that may arise due to multi-camera object tracking will be avoided. Moreover, it becomes a simpler task to mark boundaries (using the trip wire function for example) if a panoramic scene is used. Furthermore, some IVS licenses may be sold per camera, therefore having a panoramic video system will bring considerable savings.
(iv) Impact of employing energy harvesting systems.
An off-grid CHAMELEON system was designed consisting of a renewable energy source (RES), which can be a photovoltaic panel or a micro wind turbine, a charge controller with MPPT tracking and a battery pack. The Wireless LAN Card was also included into the system. The low power consumption of the CHAMELEON system allows it to be powered autonomously (w/o any power from RES) from a relatively small battery pack with a depth of discharge of 50% and a lowest ambient temperature of 0˚C for 5 days (120 hours continuous operation).
Main dissemination activities:
The exploitation committee was responsible for the management of the exploitation of the project foreground as established in the Grant Agreement and the Consortium Agreement.
The exploitation committee mainly dealt with IPR issues and dissemination. The main dissemination activities that took place are the following (as detailed in D9.4 - IPR protection Report and Final business plan):
- Project website
- Articles and press releases (on Cordis, partners' websites, trade websites, Expo website, network blogs)
- Conferences and exhibitions (IFSEC security fair in Birmingham in May 2013, and the EU Microwave week in Nurnberg in October 2013).
Exploitation of Results:
Given their important contribution in specification design, validation and dissemination activities, the Consortium gave the lead-user SMEPs (EUROALARM, SIQR and EOINTEC)
exclusive rights to distribute the system for a period of 5 years after the product is on the market. After this period the technological SMEPs (EIONTEC and EMBWIRE) can supply the CHAMELEON system to other CCTV service companies/distributors. EUROALARM, SIQR and EOINTEC will benefit from special purchase conditions of 15% discount on the commercial price.
The technological SMEPs: EOINTEC and EMBWIRE will be responsible for the creation of the technology push. They are fully capacitated to aid the design procedure and to manufacture the developed technology. EOINTEC will develop and manufacture the CHAMELEON video platform (hardware and firmware). EMBWIRE will supply EOINTEC with the Ethernet/Wireless LAN network card and antennas. EOINTEC will fit in all the system components in suitable enclosures.
Eointec Solutions Ltd. is a privately held company set up in 2003 in Ireland. Eointec’s main activity is embedded software and hardware design and specializing in the development of products that transport video and audio over internet protocol (IP). EOINTEC’s main competitors are companies with off the shelf solutions. These products compete on price and
branding. As a small SME EOINTEC overcomes this type of competition through innovation. CHAMELEON project will bring additional IP and wireless technology knowledge into the
company hence offering innovative solutions to its clients. EOINTEC will integrate and sell the CHAMELEON technology to the distributors.
Embedded Wireless has 10+ years of exclusive IEEE802.11 wireless LAN experience. Based on this broad experience their goal is to find well suited IEEE802.11abgn solutions for industrial applications. EMBWIRE fills the gap between mass market driven WLAN suppliers and low to mid volume industrial customer applications with high end requirements. EMBWIRE is the only ATHEROS authorised Development Company in Europe. This project is an opportunity for EMBWIRE to develop and fabricate a network card that contains the newly released ATHEROS SoC AR93xx. EMBWIRE will provide the network cards for all CHAMELEON products sold. EMBWIRE intends to exploit this network card in other applications/markets.
The technology pull (commercialization) will be created by the lead-users EUROALARM, SIQR and EOINTEC, which replaced ICL as a distributor after the latter left the project. EUROALARM, SIQR and EOINTEC are all well-established CCTV suppliers/distributors in their regions. In the project, EUROALARM, SIQR and EOINTEC provided typical installation scenarios, specifications and market guidance.
EUROALARM is an SME which activates in new IT&C products and technologies promotion in the Czech Republic marketplace and has a research team. The majority of persons who work in the company come from military research fields with great experience in design, development, testing and integration. EUROALARM sell various models of IP Cameras and security solutions. CHAMELEON will provide EUROALARM with a viable solution for its clients that want to use wireless equipment for video surveillance for various locations. Being a low power product it will permit installation in disadvantaged areas using battery and/or solar PV cells. Having such a product will make EUROALARM the market leader in video surveillance solutions, especially in the Eastern European market.
SIQR is an SME which came into being in 2011 from their parent company PROMELIT. The basis for SIQR is to focus solely on the video surveillance market. It works with the customer base they served from PROMELIT. CHAMELEON will be an innovative and unique CCTV system in SIQR’s product portfolio.
EUROALARM and EOINTEC validated the effectiveness of the CHAMELEON system. SIQR devised a training plan to transfer the technology knowledge to the SMEPs.
The major terms and conditions of the Exploitation Agreement (EA) were discussed by the SME partners and agreed upon:
• The purpose of the EA was to establish the terms and conditions under which the SMEs will handle the joint foreground, in accordance with the rules applicable to the project.
• EOINTEC, EUROALARM and SIQR are the joint owners of all results, information, data and know-how generated by the CHAMELEON project, except for the schematics of
the radio front end of the Wireless LAN card, which is owned solely by EMBWIRE.
• EOINTEC, EUROALARM and SIQR agreed to own the Joint Foreground of the entire CHAMELEON system (being composed of the encoder, decoder and Video Management Software) and the video processing algorithms in equal shares.
• The SMEs shall enter into good faith discussion and take such steps as may be required to protect the Joint Foreground by a patent or other IP right, including keeping the
Joint Foreground confidential and delaying any publication or other dissemination activity if such activities are likely to prejudice the protection and/or the commercial
use of the joint foreground.
• Each SME may take action for infringement against any Third Parties that infringe the IP rights of the SMEs on the Joint Foreground. An SME who takes action for infringement against such third Parties shall notify the other SMEs of the action that has been brought and the SMEs may mutually agree on additional measures and
actions to be taken against such infringements by Third Parties.
• Each SME shall have the irrevocable and global right to use the Joint Foreground in all kinds of further research activities, including third party research. Each SME is free to
undertake further research and third part research on the joint foreground without notifying or compensating the other SMEs in any way.
• Each SME shall have the irrevocable and global right to carry out commercial use of the joint foreground, alone or in cooperation with third parties, including the right to
grant non-exclusive licences to the joint foreground (including the right to sub-licence) to third parties. However, the SMEs will strive to implement their initial plan for the
manufacturing and exploitation of Foreground.
• Any SME that intends to carry out commercial use shall notify the other parties in advance. Nevertheless, the other SMEs shall not have any right to request compensation for such commercial use or to have a share in the benefits generated by such commercial use or to object to or to block such commercial use carried out by an SME.
• Any SME carrying out commercial use in cooperation with third parties shall take reasonable steps and sign agreements in order to ensure that the third parties will
observe and perform all confidentiality undertakings.
• Exclusive licences of the joint foreground to third parties shall always be agreed and approved by all the SMEs in writing.
• Any enhanced foreground generated by modifications, adaptations, updates, corrections, upgrades, enhancements and developments of the joint foreground shall be the ownership of the SME of the SMEs and/or the third parties participating in the further research, third party research or commercial use activities under which enhanced foreground is generated, according to their agreement.
• Each SME undertakes to treat the joint foreground and confidential and use reasonable endeavours to procure that the same be kept confidential for a period of 5 years as from the effective date.
• Each SME may, at any moment, assign its share of the joint foreground. Such SME shall inform the other SMEs of its intention to assign its share and the other parties shall
have a right of pre-emption for a period of three months from the notification of the intended assignment.
List of Websites:
Viale Paolo Onorato Vigliani 13
20148 Milano (MI), Italy
Tel +39 024812863
Fax +39 024816469
14700, Praha, CZ
Tel: +420 272 770 148
Fax: 420 272 770 149
Ballyshannon IT Centre,
Portnason Industrial Estate,
Tel: +353 719 851 990