Honors Gallery

Video analysis tool from MIT-LL accelerates forensics for homeland and commercial security

Award: Excellence in Technology Transfer

Year: 2023

Award Type: National

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory


The problem being solved: Security in public and commercial spaces relies heavily on large-scale closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems. Because these systems can include thousands of cameras, searching the footage manually during an investigation can take hours or even days to complete—time that can be critical for minimizing threats. Commercial products with more efficient forensic review features often are hard to integrate with video surveillance systems, require dedicated computer hardware or generate search results that are not immediately useful in an investigation. 

The technology solution: MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s Forensic Video Exploitation and Analysis (FOVEA) tool suite, developed under sponsorship from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, allows investigators to quickly analyze video footage from surveillance systems and track incidents or people of interest. FOVEA integrates directly with existing CCTV systems, chronologically combines snippets from multiple cameras into one composite video for analysis and does not involve transmitting data to the cloud (an important privacy requirement for some organizations).  

The tech transfer mechanisms: While prototypes of FOVEA were being tested by three mass transit facilities, a team from the Lincoln Laboratory Spark (LL Spark) program—which provides entrepreneurial training for inventors—identified Doradus Labs as an ideal licensee. Doradus negotiated a six-month trial license with MIT-LL’s Technology Licensing Office in 2019 to test-drive FOVEA and ask technical questions of the lab researchers. A commercial license agreement was signed in September 2020, which was amended in 2021 to reflect updates made to the technology. 

The tech transfer excellence: The forward-thinking software design positioned FOVEA as a product that could support a wide range of government and commercial applications, making the technology attractive to potential licensees. MIT-LL’s early interactions with Doradus, starting with the LL Spark program, established a strong working relationship and foundation for more formal collaboration. The trial licensing option, in which all source code was provided to Doradus for evaluation, increased the company’s trust in the technology and in MIT-LL as a partner.   

The outcomes: In addition to the three mass transit facilities that have been using FOVEA since the prototype stage, the technology has successfully been deployed in two Colorado-based casinos that are Doradus' customers. Investigations involving security video were already 25% faster at the time of this award submission, and the casinos believe they can be even more efficient as they become more familiar with the technology’s capabilities. Building on these positive experiences, Doradus plans to introduce FOVEA to its customers in the education and transportation industries. Potential commercial applications for the technology also include entertainment and sports arenas, shopping centers and places of worship. 

Team Members:

Jesslyn Alekseyev, Louis Bellaire, Kimberlee Chang, Dan Dardani, Marianne DeAngelus, Ronald Duarte, Zach Elko, Heather Griffin, Drinalda Kume, Brett Levasseur, Natalya Luciw, Sanjeev Mohindra, Christine Russ, Tyler Schube, Jayme Sellinger, Diane Staheli, Zach Sweet, Jason Thornton, Marc Valliant, Aaron Yahr

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