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The Video Tech That Helped Find The Boston Bombing Suspects

• Francie Diep via

Three days after the Boston Marathon bombings, a security camera caught one of the suspects robbing a 7-11. Law enforcement recognized him from photos and videos released by the FBI yesterday. The identification led police to the manhunt now underway in the suburbs of Boston.

Law enforcement had terabytes of photos and videos related to the Boston Marathon bombing, NPR's Morning Edition reported, thanks to the increased presence of security cameras. Without computer help, it would take a person years to watch all the footage end to end.

The sleuthing that eventually ID's the two suspects, believed to be brothers from Chechnya, Russia, likely depended on some newer technology that helps human analysts with the time-consuming job of looking through all that camera footage.

Over the last few years, computer programs have emerged that is able to spot patterns in the same way a human can. The programs pull out only relevant video, leaving people with less to look through. "You can ask for things like, 'Show me all red cars that went east,'" Alex Shipp, chief executive of a video surveillance software company called 3VR, told Morning Edition. Software is also able to look for things such as the black and white hats the suspects wore on the day of the bombing. Given high resolution video, 3VR software is able to identify footage of people of a particular gender and age.