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Low-power Continuous Remote Behavioral Localization with Event Cameras

Friedhelm Hamann · Suman Ghosh · Ignacio Juarez Martinez · Tom Hart · Alex Kacelnik · Guillermo Gallego

Arch 4A-E Poster #386
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Thu 20 Jun 5 p.m. PDT — 6:30 p.m. PDT


Researchers in natural science need reliable methods for quantifying animal behavior. Recently, numerous computer vision methods emerged to automate the process. However, observing wild species at remote locations remains a challenging task due to difficult lighting conditions and constraints on power supply and data storage. Event cameras offer unique advantages for battery-dependent remote monitoring due to their low power consumption and high dynamic range capabilities. We use this novel sensor to quantify a behavior in Chinstrap penguins called ecstatic display. We formulate the problem as a temporal action detection task, determining the start and end times of the behavior. For this purpose, we recorded a colony of breeding penguins in Antarctica during several weeks and labeled event data on 16 nests. The developed method consists of a generator of candidate time intervals (proposals) and a classifier of the actions within them. The experiments show that the event cameras’ natural response to motion is effective for continuous behavior monitoring and detection, reaching a mean average precision (mAP) of 58% (which increases to 63% in good weather conditions). The results also demonstrate the robustness against various lighting conditions contained in the challenging dataset. The low-power capabilities of the event camera allows to record three times longer than with a conventional camera. We make our code and “Event Penguins” dataset available. This work pioneers the use of event cameras for remote wildlife observation, opening new interdisciplinary opportunities.

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