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Distributed smart cameras and sensors have been an active area of research in recent years. Most of the research has focused on either the machine vision algorithms or on a specific implementation. There has been less activity on building generic frameworks which allow different algorithms, sensors and distribution methods to be used.

Scallop framework aims to provide the user with simple and configurable interfaces for accessing sensors and communicating with other nodes. Various sensor and network types can be used, enabling node heterogeneity. Uniform event based interfaces are provided for both sensors and networks, with bindings for Microsoft .NET Framework (.NET) languages and we have plans for C++ support. Node deployment and runtime configuration is simplified through the use of XML configuration files.

The framework has been designed and implemented with the following guidelines in mind:

NEW (August 2009): As of version R2009a, MATLAB includes an interface to the .NET Framework. In consequence of this, it is now possible to use the Scallop framework even in MATLAB environment. The source code package includes an example of using MATLAB to access frames from an Axis IP camera and doing some image processing.

Example Usage Scenarios

The following are some simple examples of scenarios where the framework could be employed.

Multicamera surveillance systems


Nodes with multiple sensors or networks


Sensorless nodes


Smart environments

Architecture and Interfaces

System Architecture

Network Interface

Sensor Interface

Current Implementation


We have implemented a network module utilising the Microsoft P2P Framework using Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) PeerChannel, the managed implementation in .NET 3.5. The module creates an internal communication endpoint for messaging with other nodes and presents the user with the Scallop interface for communication with peers.

In the PeerChannel implementation, the nodes are connected by a P2P mesh, allowing ad-hoc network formation and node dispersal. The mesh is formed using the Peer Name Resolution Protocol (PNRP), which in turn utilises the Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP) to find and connect to neighbouring peers.

Communication between nodes takes place over a many-to-many broadcast channel, constructed using the point-to-point connections of the underlying mesh. Messages are propagated by flooding them to neighbouring nodes. The nature of the peer mesh also allows message propagation to be restricted by limiting the number of hops a message can traverse. Several channels can be overlaid on the mesh and messages can be encrypted with a password or certificate using Transport Level Security (TLS).

Our network implementation consists of code to expose the PeerChannel functionality through a Scallop network interface. The network only provides a best effort service, messages are not guaranteed to reach all nodes. In addition, the mesh nature of the network leads to a transmission delay, which might not be acceptable in some user scenarios.


We have implemented sensor source modules for Axis IP cameras and directories of JPEG frames. The Axis cameras are accessed through the Axis Application Programming Interface (Axis API). The camera unit provides a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) Motion JPEG stream, that is parsed into individual frames that get passed on to the user. The camera modules are fully configurable. They can also automatically recover from network outages which can be frequent in a wireless environment.


A demonstration system was implemented to test the suitability of the framework for a distributed multi-camera application. The system is composed of a set of processing nodes running on PC workstations, and Axis 210A/213 IP-cameras acting as sensors. These are accessed through the Scallop sensor interface. Each camera is configured to produce frames of 320x240 pixels at a rate of 15 fps. These are passed to the user code as bitmaps, and an object detector is then used to extract human shapes from them. Each object is given a unique ID and tracked between successive frames to produce individual trajectories.

The node communication takes place over a hybrid wired and wireless network. Every time a node detects an old or new object, it informs the other nodes through the network interface. Object data and features from the detector are sent to the peer nodes using XML, with an encoded thumbnail image of the detected object. This provides a greater amount of test traffic on the network than simply broadcasting the first and last time an object is seen.







MVG/Downloads/Scallop (last edited 2012-02-07 16:13:46 by WebMaster)