Researchers at the Spanish National Research Council have developed a new 'idTracker' software that enables the identification of individuals within a group. Researchers say that the software could in future be used to track criminals, making it difficult for them to disappear in a crowd.
The software, which is based on algorithms, was used to follow the route traced by an animal by using video recordings of the subject. Researchers say that idTracker creates a virtual "footprint" of each animal, which makes them easy to track even in large groups.
"From now on, we will be able to quantitatively determine the rules of animal behavior in groups taking into account the individuality of each animal," said Gonzalo G de Polavieja, CSIC researcher and head of the study.
"Furthermore, it is possible to study the same individual in several videos because its 'footprint' is always the same. This enables a better understanding of their behavior," Polavieja said.
Researchers state that the idTracker software is very easy to use and can be used to identify a variety of different species.
"We have done tests with fish (Danio rerio and Oryzias latipes), flies (Drosophila melanogaster), ants (Messorstructor) and mice (Mus musculus), but it can be applied to other animals," researchers said.
Among the applications of this software, Alfonso Perez Escudero, CSIC researcher noted that "in the short term, this will be used in science, but in the longer term, the method we have developed can be applied to recognize people in large crowds, vehicles or parts in a factory, for instance."