Motion vectors and deep neural networks for video camera traps

Riechmann, Miklas; Gardiner, Ross; Waddington, Kai; Rueger, Ryan; Fol Leymarie, Frederic and Rueger, Stefan (2022). Motion vectors and deep neural networks for video camera traps. Ecological Informatics, 69, article no. 101657.



Commercial camera traps are usually triggered by a Passive Infra-Red (PIR) motion sensor necessitating a delay between triggering and the image being captured. This often seriously limits the ability to record images of small and fast moving animals. It also results in many “empty” images, e.g., owing to moving foliage against a background of different temperature. In this paper we detail a new triggering mechanism based solely on the camera sensor. This is intended for use by citizen scientists and for deployment on an affordable, compact, low-power Raspberry Pi computer (RPi). Our system introduces a video frame filtering pipeline consisting of movement and image-based processing. This makes use of Machine Learning (ML) feasible on a live camera stream on an RPi. We describe our free and open-source software implementation of the system; introduce a suitable ecology efficiency measure that mediates between specificity and recall; provide ground-truth for a video clip collection from camera traps; and evaluate the effectiveness of our system thoroughly. Overall, our video camera trap turns out to be robust and effective.

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