The Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) plays an important role in the modern economy. It provides a fast and convenient way to process transactions between banks and their customers. Unfortunately, it also provides a convenient way for criminals to get illegal money or use stolen ATM cards to extract money from their victim's accounts. For safety reasons, each ATM has a surveillance system to record customer's face information. However, when criminals use an ATM to withdraw money illegally, they usually hide their faces with something (in Taiwan, criminals usually use safety helmets to block their faces) to avoid the surveillance system recording their face information, which decreases the efficiency of the surveillance system. In this paper, we propose a circle/circular arc detection method based upon the modified Hough transform, and apply it to the detection of safety helmets for the surveillance system of ATMs. Since the safety helmet location will be within the set of the obtainable circles/circular arcs (if any exist), we use geometric features to verify if any safety helmet exists in the set. The proposed method can be used to help the surveillance systems record a customer's face information more precisely. If customers wear safety helmets to block their faces, the system can send a message to remind them to take off their helmets. Besides this, the method can be applied to the surveillance systems of banks by providing an early warning safeguard when any “customer” or “intruder” uses a safety helmet to avoid his/her face information from being recorded by the surveillance system. This will make the surveillance system more useful. Real images are used to analyze the performance of the proposed method.
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