Deep-FIR: AI-driven project enhances CCTV facial imagery to help combat crime

Algorithm uses Artificial Intelligence to improve the quality of facial images in CCTV cameras to help combat forensic crime

CCTV cameras (File photo)
CCTV cameras (File photo)

A group of university researchers have come up with an algorithm using Artificial Intelligence to improve the quality of facial images in CCTV cameras to help combat forensic crime.

DEEP-FIR is a project which addressed the problem in improving the quality of facial images captured by CCTV cameras in combatting forensic crime.

The Deep-FIR project aims to design and implement a face image restoration algorithm that is able restore very low-resolution facial images captured by CCTV systems with unconstrained pose and orientation.

The user will be able to restore the whole head, including the hair region, which is important for person identification. while minimizing the manual work of the operator.

Apart from improving the quality of the restored facial images, this project intends to reduce the complexity and therefore the time needed to enhance an image or video frame.

The developed algorithm will be tested on real-world CCTV videos and compared against existing video forensic tools used by forensic experts in their labs.

Apart from video forensics, the proposed technology can be adopted and used in other sectors, such as video analytics and iris recognition.

The project funded by FUSION, the National Research & Innovation Funding Programme, administered by the Malta Council for Science and Technology MCST, received around €185,000 in public funds. The results of the project were disseminated today during a public engagement event which took place at the Esplora Planetarium Hall, in Kalkara.

“Image super-resolution elevates the quality of our visual data, enabling greater detail and accuracy for critical areas like medical diagnostics, surveillance, digital forensics, and scientific research. It is our bridge between the limitation of our technologies and the vast potential of high-resolution vision, fostering clearer insights and informed decision-making,” project principal investigator John Abela said.

Addressing the event, parliamentary secretary for youth Keith Azzopardi Tanti stated the importance in using new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence.

“Each year Malta is increasing its contribution towards research and innovation. Today, we are already seeing the results of how R&I can help several sectors in our country to grow and expand their operation. The DEEPFIR project focuses on the safety of our citizens. It is needless to say that safety is one of the main concerns people have. This project will help to resolve crimes but also prevent them from happening,” he said.