Human beings performing surveillance do not rely on their eyes alone. They include information from all their senses in their evaluation of a situation – the sound of a vehicle, the vibration of a floorboard, a smell of gasoline. A well-designed security and surveillance system must also be able to go beyond a single sensing modality.

This is the concept of Smart Sensor Fusion, the combining of information from multiple sensing modalities into a single evaluation of a situation or into a better presentation for use by human observers. This may include the combination of visible light and infrared signals to produce an easily-understood image that brings out the significant information in the infrared and sets it against the intuitively obvious background in visible light, or it may be the use of smart video combined with smart acoustic signal processing to determine what sounds are coming from tracked visible targets – conversations, engine noises, gunshots, and so on.

IEM has considerable experience in the Smart Sensor Fusion area, including several patents specifically in its application to inspection and surveillance. Two case studies are presented: