Monitoring and surveillance of humans is one of the most prominent applications of today and it is expected to be part of many future aspects of our life, for safety reasons, assisted living and many others. Many efforts have been made towards automatic and robust solutions, but the general problem is very challenging and remains still open. In this PhD dissertation we examine the problem from many perspectives. First, we study the performance of a hardware architecture designed for large-scale surveillance systems. Then, we focus on the general problem of human activity
recognition, present an extensive survey of methodologies that deal with this subject and propose a maturity metric to evaluate them.
One of the numerous and most popular algorithms for image processing found in the field is image segmentation and we propose a blind metric to evaluate their results regarding the activity at local regions. Finally, we propose a fully automatic system for segmenting and extracting human bodies from challenging single images, which is the main contribution of the dissertation. Our methodology is a novel bottom-up approach relying mostly on anthropometric constraints and is facilitated by our research in the fields of face, skin and hands detection. Experimental results and comparison with state-of-the-art methodologies demonstrate the success of our approach.