If you've ever read the Harry Potter series, you're likely well aware of what the Marauder's Map is. So when we say that we humble muggles (non-magical folks, for the uninitiated) have crafted our own version of it, you'll be well within your rights to rejoice.
For those unfamiliar with the term, the Marauder's Map is one of the more mischievous bits of magical paraphernalia to come out of the Harry Potter series. By whispering a few choice words — "I solemnly swear I am up to no good" — the map is activated. It then displays a map of Hogwarts Castle, complete with real-time data on the movements of everyone within the castle's walls. So whether characters are sneaking about or just keeping tabs on say, a particular potions master, it's a powerful tool.
Well muggles, it's our time to shine because a team at Carnegie Mellon has developed a high tech version of the Marauder's Map that doesn't require magical powers to use. Technically speaking, it's a tracking algorithm that uses data from security cameras to pinpoint multiple persons-of-interest as they move through a complex environment. Walls, clutter and other individuals obscuring the camera's view are no problem.
Watching the algorithm at work, you can get a sense of just how similar to its inspiration it has become. A few bells here and whistles there, and this little program just might be a real life Marauder's Map app. The team that created the map (Shoou-I Yu, Yi Yang and Alexander Hauptmann) plan on posting their source code to their site in the near future.
So if you've got some programming chops and are looking for a program to add your very own pinch of floo powder to, head on over to their page here. Or just check out the video below to see how it works.
Via Carnegie Mellon