Safety system is based on machine vision technology

Paul Boughton

Digital Inspection Systems is launching a vision-based safety system for hazardous areas, known as SHASS (Scorpion Hazardous Area Safety Solution).

The system, which uses advanced colour- and pattern-matching techniques, has been trained to identify high-visibility clothing – a legal requirement for all industrial hazardous areas.

SHASS has been designed using commodity components with standard IP65-rated Windows PCs and low-cost USB cameras – meaning that system deployment is both economical and fast.

Trials have shown that the system can detect personnel in a hazardous area within milliseconds in varied light conditions and with a minimal false detection rate (in fact, during trials, false detections did not occur at any time and positive detections were experienced with 100percent success). The system does not use motion detection, so it completely ignores normal operational activity.

SHASS uses a universal interface for communication to any type of control system. In its simplest form, SHASS sends an emergency stop signal so that all equipment in the area will be shut down immediately, thereby reducing the possibility of injury – and this also acts as a deterrent to would-be rule breakers who know that they will have to avoid the cameras if they do not want to stop systems and incur the wrath of the Health and safety manager, let alone their employer.

SHASS was first devised for use in a waste recycling plant where conveyor belts and sorting machinery are an ever-present danger. Much of the machinery in these plants is controlled by safety interlocks that operate when a door is opened or a button is pushed.

However, this is inconvenient to some, so people often find a way of overriding these systems. SHASS, on the other hand, is described as ‘people proof’.

The system will be demonstrated by Lyndex Recycling Systems on stand 619 at the Recycling and Waste Management 2005 event at the NEC in Birmingham, UK, on 13, 14 and 15 September 2005. 

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