Narrator: This is Science Today. The United States Army has commissioned engineers and scientists at the University of California, Riverside to build a massive image library of vehicles, weapons, tire and shoe treads for matching visual similarities. Computer scientist Eammon Keogh says the project started out as an image database of insects.
Keogh: It's generally known that insects cause as much problems for soldiers as the enemy often does. Soldiers are often taken down by malaria and other insect-borne diseases. Originally we started working on just insects for various problems, including the Army and of course the Army has lots of problems in images - recognizing enemy tanks, enemy tire tracks and so on and so forth. As it happens, a lot of technologies that work beautifully for insects will also work potentially for these other problems.
Narrator: For instance, some insects can be identified well using texture.
Keogh: And as it happens, texture is perfect to recognize in tire tracks in the desert for example. So, that's one technology that we originally developed for the insects, and it works beautifully for this other multi-purpose.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.