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Billboard simulation turns to machine vision

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Fashion retailer Forever 21 has included a 61-foot high real-time digital billboard utilising machine vision technology as part of its new 90,000 sq ft flagship store in New York City's Times Square.

Created by digital communication firm Space150, the billboard simulates giant onscreen models that interact with images of the crowd. The display uses an Allied Vision Technologies (AVT) Prosilica GX1910 GigE camera, which looks down at the crowd feeding image data to the application.

The digital billboard was built by LED digital display specialist D3 LED and uses computer vision technology to first identify people looking at the billboard and, in near real-time, builds a composite image of the crowd for use in the simulation.

The technology, borrowed from government and security surveillance, also allows the computer to differentiate people form inanimate objects, and to pick and prioritise Forever 21 shoppers carrying their distinctive yellow store bags

The simulation involves the models taking Polaroid snaps of onlookers before displaying the photo on the screen, or who pick-up shoppers to toss them under a hat or in their shopping bags. 

The Prosilica GX1910 is a 2 Megapixel HD resolution camera capable of running 240MB/s through its dual Gigabit Ethernet interface. Camera features include three-axis lens control and a thermal management enclosure.

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