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2015


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Efficient Sparse-to-Dense Optical Flow Estimation using a Learned Basis and Layers

Wulff, J., Black, M. J.

In IEEE Conf. on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR 2015), pages: 120-130, June 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We address the elusive goal of estimating optical flow both accurately and efficiently by adopting a sparse-to-dense approach. Given a set of sparse matches, we regress to dense optical flow using a learned set of full-frame basis flow fields. We learn the principal components of natural flow fields using flow computed from four Hollywood movies. Optical flow fields are then compactly approximated as a weighted sum of the basis flow fields. Our new PCA-Flow algorithm robustly estimates these weights from sparse feature matches. The method runs in under 300ms/frame on the MPI-Sintel dataset using a single CPU and is more accurate and significantly faster than popular methods such as LDOF and Classic+NL. The results, however, are too smooth for some applications. Consequently, we develop a novel sparse layered flow method in which each layer is represented by PCA-flow. Unlike existing layered methods, estimation is fast because it uses only sparse matches. We combine information from different layers into a dense flow field using an image-aware MRF. The resulting PCA-Layers method runs in 3.6s/frame, is significantly more accurate than PCA-flow and achieves state-of-the-art performance in occluded regions on MPI-Sintel.

pdf Extended Abstract Supplemental Material Poster Code Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


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Permutohedral Lattice CNNs

Kiefel, M., Jampani, V., Gehler, P. V.

In ICLR Workshop Track, May 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
This paper presents a convolutional layer that is able to process sparse input features. As an example, for image recognition problems this allows an efficient filtering of signals that do not lie on a dense grid (like pixel position), but of more general features (such as color values). The presented algorithm makes use of the permutohedral lattice data structure. The permutohedral lattice was introduced to efficiently implement a bilateral filter, a commonly used image processing operation. Its use allows for a generalization of the convolution type found in current (spatial) convolutional network architectures.

pdf link (url) [BibTex]

pdf link (url) [BibTex]


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Consensus Message Passing for Layered Graphical Models

Jampani, V., Eslami, S. M. A., Tarlow, D., Kohli, P., Winn, J.

In Eighteenth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (AISTATS), 38, pages: 425-433, JMLR Workshop and Conference Proceedings, May 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Generative models provide a powerful framework for probabilistic reasoning. However, in many domains their use has been hampered by the practical difficulties of inference. This is particularly the case in computer vision, where models of the imaging process tend to be large, loopy and layered. For this reason bottom-up conditional models have traditionally dominated in such domains. We find that widely-used, general-purpose message passing inference algorithms such as Expectation Propagation (EP) and Variational Message Passing (VMP) fail on the simplest of vision models. With these models in mind, we introduce a modification to message passing that learns to exploit their layered structure by passing 'consensus' messages that guide inference towards good solutions. Experiments on a variety of problems show that the proposed technique leads to significantly more accurate inference results, not only when compared to standard EP and VMP, but also when compared to competitive bottom-up conditional models.

online pdf supplementary link (url) [BibTex]

online pdf supplementary link (url) [BibTex]


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Shape Models of the Human Body for Distributed Inference

Zuffi, S.

Brown University, May 2015 (phdthesis)

Abstract
In this thesis we address the problem of building shape models of the human body, in 2D and 3D, which are realistic and efficient to use. We focus our efforts on the human body, which is highly articulated and has interesting shape variations, but the approaches we present here can be applied to generic deformable and articulated objects. To address efficiency, we constrain our models to be part-based and have a tree-structured representation with pairwise relationships between connected parts. This allows the application of methods for distributed inference based on message passing. To address realism, we exploit recent advances in computer graphics that represent the human body with statistical shape models learned from 3D scans. We introduce two articulated body models, a 2D model, named Deformable Structures (DS), which is a contour-based model parameterized for 2D pose and projected shape, and a 3D model, named Stitchable Puppet (SP), which is a mesh-based model parameterized for 3D pose, pose-dependent deformations and intrinsic body shape. We have successfully applied the models to interesting and challenging problems in computer vision and computer graphics, namely pose estimation from static images, pose estimation from video sequences, pose and shape estimation from 3D scan data. This advances the state of the art in human pose and shape estimation and suggests that carefully de ned realistic models can be important for computer vision. More work at the intersection of vision and graphics is thus encouraged.

PDF [BibTex]


Thumb xl screen shot 2015 10 14 at 08.57.57
Multi-view and 3D Deformable Part Models

Pepik, B., Stark, M., Gehler, P., Schiele, B.

Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 37(11):14, IEEE, March 2015 (article)

Abstract
As objects are inherently 3-dimensional, they have been modeled in 3D in the early days of computer vision. Due to the ambiguities arising from mapping 2D features to 3D models, 3D object representations have been neglected and 2D feature-based models are the predominant paradigm in object detection nowadays. While such models have achieved outstanding bounding box detection performance, they come with limited expressiveness, as they are clearly limited in their capability of reasoning about 3D shape or viewpoints. In this work, we bring the worlds of 3D and 2D object representations closer, by building an object detector which leverages the expressive power of 3D object representations while at the same time can be robustly matched to image evidence. To that end, we gradually extend the successful deformable part model [1] to include viewpoint information and part-level 3D geometry information, resulting in several different models with different level of expressiveness. We end up with a 3D object model, consisting of multiple object parts represented in 3D and a continuous appearance model. We experimentally verify that our models, while providing richer object hypotheses than the 2D object models, provide consistently better joint object localization and viewpoint estimation than the state-of-the-art multi-view and 3D object detectors on various benchmarks (KITTI [2], 3D object classes [3], Pascal3D+ [4], Pascal VOC 2007 [5], EPFL multi-view cars [6]).

DOI Project Page [BibTex]

DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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From Scans to Models: Registration of 3D Human Shapes Exploiting Texture Information

Bogo, F.

University of Padova, March 2015 (phdthesis)

Abstract
New scanning technologies are increasing the importance of 3D mesh data, and of algorithms that can reliably register meshes obtained from multiple scans. Surface registration is important e.g. for building full 3D models from partial scans, identifying and tracking objects in a 3D scene, creating statistical shape models. Human body registration is particularly important for many applications, ranging from biomedicine and robotics to the production of movies and video games; but obtaining accurate and reliable registrations is challenging, given the articulated, non-rigidly deformable structure of the human body. In this thesis, we tackle the problem of 3D human body registration. We start by analyzing the current state of the art, and find that: a) most registration techniques rely only on geometric information, which is ambiguous on flat surface areas; b) there is a lack of adequate datasets and benchmarks in the field. We address both issues. Our contribution is threefold. First, we present a model-based registration technique for human meshes that combines geometry and surface texture information to provide highly accurate mesh-to-mesh correspondences. Our approach estimates scene lighting and surface albedo, and uses the albedo to construct a high-resolution textured 3D body model that is brought into registration with multi-camera image data using a robust matching term. Second, by leveraging our technique, we present FAUST (Fine Alignment Using Scan Texture), a novel dataset collecting 300 high-resolution scans of 10 people in a wide range of poses. FAUST is the first dataset providing both real scans and automatically computed, reliable "ground-truth" correspondences between them. Third, we explore possible uses of our approach in dermatology. By combining our registration technique with a melanocytic lesion segmentation algorithm, we propose a system that automatically detects new or evolving lesions over almost the entire body surface, thus helping dermatologists identify potential melanomas. We conclude this thesis investigating the benefits of using texture information to establish frame-to-frame correspondences in dynamic monocular sequences captured with consumer depth cameras. We outline a novel approach to reconstruct realistic body shape and appearance models from dynamic human performances, and show preliminary results on challenging sequences captured with a Kinect.

[BibTex]


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Active Learning for Abstract Models of Collectives

Schiendorfer, A., Lassner, C., Anders, G., Reif, W., Lienhart, R.

In 3rd Workshop on Self-optimisation in Organic and Autonomic Computing Systems (SAOS), March 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Organizational structures such as hierarchies provide an effective means to deal with the increasing complexity found in large-scale energy systems. In hierarchical systems, the concrete functions describing the subsystems can be replaced by abstract piecewise linear functions to speed up the optimization process. However, if the data points are weakly informative the resulting abstracted optimization problem introduces severe errors and exhibits bad runtime performance. Furthermore, obtaining additional point labels amounts to solving computationally hard optimization problems. Therefore, we propose to apply methods from active learning to search for informative inputs. We present first results experimenting with Decision Forests and Gaussian Processes that motivate further research. Using points selected by Decision Forests, we could reduce the average mean-squared error of the abstract piecewise linear function by one third.

code (hosted on github) pdf [BibTex]

code (hosted on github) pdf [BibTex]


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Long Range Motion Estimation and Applications

Sevilla-Lara, L.

Long Range Motion Estimation and Applications, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Febuary 2015 (phdthesis)

Abstract
Finding correspondences between images underlies many computer vision problems, such as optical flow, tracking, stereovision and alignment. Finding these correspondences involves formulating a matching function and optimizing it. This optimization process is often gradient descent, which avoids exhaustive search, but relies on the assumption of being in the basin of attraction of the right local minimum. This is often the case when the displacement is small, and current methods obtain very accurate results for small motions. However, when the motion is large and the matching function is bumpy this assumption is less likely to be true. One traditional way of avoiding this abruptness is to smooth the matching function spatially by blurring the images. As the displacement becomes larger, the amount of blur required to smooth the matching function becomes also larger. This averaging of pixels leads to a loss of detail in the image. Therefore, there is a trade-off between the size of the objects that can be tracked and the displacement that can be captured. In this thesis we address the basic problem of increasing the size of the basin of attraction in a matching function. We use an image descriptor called distribution fields (DFs). By blurring the images in DF space instead of in pixel space, we in- crease the size of the basin attraction with respect to traditional methods. We show competitive results using DFs both in object tracking and optical flow. Finally we demonstrate an application of capturing large motions for temporal video stitching.

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Spike train SIMilarity Space (SSIMS): A framework for single neuron and ensemble data analysis

Vargas-Irwin, C. E., Brandman, D. M., Zimmermann, J. B., Donoghue, J. P., Black, M. J.

Neural Computation, 27(1):1-31, MIT Press, January 2015 (article)

Abstract
We present a method to evaluate the relative similarity of neural spiking patterns by combining spike train distance metrics with dimensionality reduction. Spike train distance metrics provide an estimate of similarity between activity patterns at multiple temporal resolutions. Vectors of pair-wise distances are used to represent the intrinsic relationships between multiple activity patterns at the level of single units or neuronal ensembles. Dimensionality reduction is then used to project the data into concise representations suitable for clustering analysis as well as exploratory visualization. Algorithm performance and robustness are evaluated using multielectrode ensemble activity data recorded in behaving primates. We demonstrate how Spike train SIMilarity Space (SSIMS) analysis captures the relationship between goal directions for an 8-directional reaching task and successfully segregates grasp types in a 3D grasping task in the absence of kinematic information. The algorithm enables exploration of virtually any type of neural spiking (time series) data, providing similarity-based clustering of neural activity states with minimal assumptions about potential information encoding models.

pdf: publisher site pdf: author's proof DOI Project Page [BibTex]

pdf: publisher site pdf: author's proof DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Efficient Facade Segmentation using Auto-Context

Jampani, V., Gadde, R., Gehler, P. V.

In Applications of Computer Vision (WACV), 2015 IEEE Winter Conference on, pages: 1038-1045, IEEE, January 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper we propose a system for the problem of facade segmentation. Building facades are highly structured images and consequently most methods that have been proposed for this problem, aim to make use of this strong prior information. We are describing a system that is almost domain independent and consists of standard segmentation methods. A sequence of boosted decision trees is stacked using auto-context features and learned using the stacked generalization technique. We find that this, albeit standard, technique performs better, or equals, all previous published empirical results on all available facade benchmark datasets. The proposed method is simple to implement, easy to extend, and very efficient at test time inference.

website pdf supplementary IEEE page link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]

website pdf supplementary IEEE page link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Thumb xl screenshot area 2015 07 27 004943
Norm-induced entropies for decision forests

Lassner, C., Lienhart, R.

IEEE Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision (WACV), January 2015 (conference)

Abstract
The entropy measurement function is a central element of decision forest induction. The Shannon entropy and other generalized entropies such as the Renyi and Tsallis entropy are designed to fulfill the Khinchin-Shannon axioms. Whereas these axioms are appropriate for physical systems, they do not necessarily model well the artificial system of decision forest induction. In this paper, we show that when omitting two of the four axioms, every norm induces an entropy function. The remaining two axioms are sufficient to describe the requirements for an entropy function in the decision forest context. Furthermore, we introduce and analyze the p-norm-induced entropy, show relations to existing entropies and the relation to various heuristics that are commonly used for decision forest training. In experiments with classification, regression and the recently introduced Hough forests, we show how the discrete and differential form of the new entropy can be used for forest induction and how the functions can simply be fine-tuned. The experiments indicate that the impact of the entropy function is limited, however can be a simple and useful post-processing step for optimizing decision forests for high performance applications.

pdf code [BibTex]

pdf code [BibTex]


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Dataset Suite for Benchmarking Perception in Robotics

Ahmad, A., Lima, P.

In International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) 2015, 2015 (inproceedings)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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FlowCap: 2D Human Pose from Optical Flow

Romero, J., Loper, M., Black, M. J.

In Pattern Recognition, Proc. 37th German Conference on Pattern Recognition (GCPR), LNCS 9358, pages: 412-423, Springer, 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We estimate 2D human pose from video using only optical flow. The key insight is that dense optical flow can provide information about 2D body pose. Like range data, flow is largely invariant to appearance but unlike depth it can be directly computed from monocular video. We demonstrate that body parts can be detected from dense flow using the same random forest approach used by the Microsoft Kinect. Unlike range data, however, when people stop moving, there is no optical flow and they effectively disappear. To address this, our FlowCap method uses a Kalman filter to propagate body part positions and ve- locities over time and a regression method to predict 2D body pose from part centers. No range sensor is required and FlowCap estimates 2D human pose from monocular video sources containing human motion. Such sources include hand-held phone cameras and archival television video. We demonstrate 2D body pose estimation in a range of scenarios and show that the method works with real-time optical flow. The results suggest that optical flow shares invariances with range data that, when complemented with tracking, make it valuable for pose estimation.

video pdf preprint Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

video pdf preprint Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


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Towards Optimal Robot Navigation in Urban Homes

Ventura, R., Ahmad, A.

In RoboCup 2014: Robot World Cup XVIII, pages: 318-331, Lecture Notes in Computer Science ; 8992, Springer, Cham, Switzerland, 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
The work presented in this paper is motivated by the goal of dependable autonomous navigation of mobile robots. This goal is a fundamental requirement for having autonomous robots in spaces such as domestic spaces and public establishments, left unattended by technical staff. In this paper we tackle this problem by taking an optimization approach: on one hand, we use a Fast Marching Approach for path planning, resulting in optimal paths in the absence of unmapped obstacles, and on the other hand we use a Dynamic Window Approach for guidance. To the best of our knowledge, the combination of these two methods is novel. We evaluate the approach on a real mobile robot, capable of moving at high speed. The evaluation makes use of an external ground truth system. We report controlled experiments that we performed, including the presence of people moving randomly nearby the robot. In our long term experiments we report a total distance of 18 km traveled during 11 hours of movement time.

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Metric Regression Forests for Correspondence Estimation

Pons-Moll, G., Taylor, J., Shotton, J., Hertzmann, A., Fitzgibbon, A.

International Journal of Computer Vision, pages: 1-13, 2015 (article)

springer PDF Project Page [BibTex]

springer PDF Project Page [BibTex]


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Joint 3D Object and Layout Inference from a single RGB-D Image

(Best Paper Award)

Geiger, A., Wang, C.

In German Conference on Pattern Recognition (GCPR), 9358, pages: 183-195, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer International Publishing, 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Inferring 3D objects and the layout of indoor scenes from a single RGB-D image captured with a Kinect camera is a challenging task. Towards this goal, we propose a high-order graphical model and jointly reason about the layout, objects and superpixels in the image. In contrast to existing holistic approaches, our model leverages detailed 3D geometry using inverse graphics and explicitly enforces occlusion and visibility constraints for respecting scene properties and projective geometry. We cast the task as MAP inference in a factor graph and solve it efficiently using message passing. We evaluate our method with respect to several baselines on the challenging NYUv2 indoor dataset using 21 object categories. Our experiments demonstrate that the proposed method is able to infer scenes with a large degree of clutter and occlusions.

pdf suppmat video project DOI [BibTex]

pdf suppmat video project DOI [BibTex]


Thumb xl screen shot 2015 05 07 at 11.56.54
3D Object Class Detection in the Wild

Pepik, B., Stark, M., Gehler, P., Ritschel, T., Schiele, B.

In Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Workshops (CVPRW), IEEE, 2015 (inproceedings)

Project Page [BibTex]

Project Page [BibTex]


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Discrete Optimization for Optical Flow

Menze, M., Heipke, C., Geiger, A.

In German Conference on Pattern Recognition (GCPR), 9358, pages: 16-28, Springer International Publishing, 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We propose to look at large-displacement optical flow from a discrete point of view. Motivated by the observation that sub-pixel accuracy is easily obtained given pixel-accurate optical flow, we conjecture that computing the integral part is the hardest piece of the problem. Consequently, we formulate optical flow estimation as a discrete inference problem in a conditional random field, followed by sub-pixel refinement. Naive discretization of the 2D flow space, however, is intractable due to the resulting size of the label set. In this paper, we therefore investigate three different strategies, each able to reduce computation and memory demands by several orders of magnitude. Their combination allows us to estimate large-displacement optical flow both accurately and efficiently and demonstrates the potential of discrete optimization for optical flow. We obtain state-of-the-art performance on MPI Sintel and KITTI.

pdf suppmat project DOI [BibTex]

pdf suppmat project DOI [BibTex]


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Joint 3D Estimation of Vehicles and Scene Flow

Menze, M., Heipke, C., Geiger, A.

In Proc. of the ISPRS Workshop on Image Sequence Analysis (ISA), 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Three-dimensional reconstruction of dynamic scenes is an important prerequisite for applications like mobile robotics or autonomous driving. While much progress has been made in recent years, imaging conditions in natural outdoor environments are still very challenging for current reconstruction and recognition methods. In this paper, we propose a novel unified approach which reasons jointly about 3D scene flow as well as the pose, shape and motion of vehicles in the scene. Towards this goal, we incorporate a deformable CAD model into a slanted-plane conditional random field for scene flow estimation and enforce shape consistency between the rendered 3D models and the parameters of all superpixels in the image. The association of superpixels to objects is established by an index variable which implicitly enables model selection. We evaluate our approach on the challenging KITTI scene flow dataset in terms of object and scene flow estimation. Our results provide a prove of concept and demonstrate the usefulness of our method.

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


Thumb xl teaser
A Setup for multi-UAV hardware-in-the-loop simulations

Odelga, M., Stegagno, P., Bülthoff, H., Ahmad, A.

In pages: 204-210, IEEE, 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper, we present a hardware in the loop simulation setup for multi-UAV systems. With our setup, we are able to command the robots simulated in Gazebo, a popular open source ROS-enabled physical simulator, using the computational units that are embedded on our quadrotor UAVs. Hence, we can test in simulation not only the correct execution of algorithms, but also the computational feasibility directly on the robot hardware. In addition, since our setup is inherently multi-robot, we can also test the communication flow among the robots. We provide two use cases to show the characteristics of our setup.

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Smooth Loops from Unconstrained Video

Sevilla-Lara, L., Wulff, J., Sunkavalli, K., Shechtman, E.

In Computer Graphics Forum (Proceedings of EGSR), 34(4):99-107, 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Converting unconstrained video sequences into videos that loop seamlessly is an extremely challenging problem. In this work, we take the first steps towards automating this process by focusing on an important subclass of videos containing a single dominant foreground object. Our technique makes two novel contributions over previous work: first, we propose a correspondence-based similarity metric to automatically identify a good transition point in the video where the appearance and dynamics of the foreground are most consistent. Second, we develop a technique that aligns both the foreground and background about this transition point using a combination of global camera path planning and patch-based video morphing. We demonstrate that this allows us to create natural, compelling, loopy videos from a wide range of videos collected from the internet.

pdf link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]

pdf link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Formation control driven by cooperative object tracking

Lima, P., Ahmad, A., Dias, A., Conceição, A., Moreira, A., Silva, E., Almeida, L., Oliveira, L., Nascimento, T.

Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 63(1):68-79, 2015 (article)

Abstract
In this paper we introduce a formation control loop that maximizes the performance of the cooperative perception of a tracked target by a team of mobile robots, while maintaining the team in formation, with a dynamically adjustable geometry which is a function of the quality of the target perception by the team. In the formation control loop, the controller module is a distributed non-linear model predictive controller and the estimator module fuses local estimates of the target state, obtained by a particle filter at each robot. The two modules and their integration are described in detail, including a real-time database associated to a wireless communication protocol that facilitates the exchange of state data while reducing collisions among team members. Simulation and real robot results for indoor and outdoor teams of different robots are presented. The results highlight how our method successfully enables a team of homogeneous robots to minimize the total uncertainty of the tracked target cooperative estimate while complying with performance criteria such as keeping a pre-set distance between the teammates and the target, avoiding collisions with teammates and/or surrounding obstacles.

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Onboard robust person detection and tracking for domestic service robots

Sanz, D., Ahmad, A., Lima, P.

In Robot 2015: Second Iberian Robotics Conference, pages: 547-559, Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing ; 418, Springer, Cham, Switzerland, 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Domestic assistance for the elderly and impaired people is one of the biggest upcoming challenges of our society. Consequently, in-home care through domestic service robots is identified as one of the most important application area of robotics research. Assistive tasks may range from visitor reception at the door to catering for owner's small daily necessities within a house. Since most of these tasks require the robot to interact directly with humans, a predominant robot functionality is to detect and track humans in real time: either the owner of the robot or visitors at home or both. In this article we present a robust method for such a functionality that combines depth-based segmentation and visual detection. The robustness of our method lies in its capability to not only identify partially occluded humans (e.g., with only torso visible) but also to do so in varying lighting conditions. We thoroughly validate our method through extensive experiments on real robot datasets and comparisons with the ground truth. The datasets were collected on a home-like environment set up within the context of RoboCup@Home and RoCKIn@Home competitions.

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]

2003


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Image statistics and anisotropic diffusion

Scharr, H., Black, M. J., Haussecker, H.

In Int. Conf. on Computer Vision, pages: 840-847, October 2003 (inproceedings)

pdf [BibTex]

2003

pdf [BibTex]


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A switching Kalman filter model for the motor cortical coding of hand motion

Wu, W., Black, M. J., Mumford, D., Gao, Y., Bienenstock, E., Donoghue, J. P.

In Proc. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, pages: 2083-2086, September 2003 (inproceedings)

pdf [BibTex]

pdf [BibTex]


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Learning the statistics of people in images and video

Sidenbladh, H., Black, M. J.

International Journal of Computer Vision, 54(1-3):183-209, August 2003 (article)

Abstract
This paper address the problems of modeling the appearance of humans and distinguishing human appearance from the appearance of general scenes. We seek a model of appearance and motion that is generic in that it accounts for the ways in which people's appearance varies and, at the same time, is specific enough to be useful for tracking people in natural scenes. Given a 3D model of the person projected into an image we model the likelihood of observing various image cues conditioned on the predicted locations and orientations of the limbs. These cues are taken to be steered filter responses corresponding to edges, ridges, and motion-compensated temporal differences. Motivated by work on the statistics of natural scenes, the statistics of these filter responses for human limbs are learned from training images containing hand-labeled limb regions. Similarly, the statistics of the filter responses in general scenes are learned to define a “background” distribution. The likelihood of observing a scene given a predicted pose of a person is computed, for each limb, using the likelihood ratio between the learned foreground (person) and background distributions. Adopting a Bayesian formulation allows cues to be combined in a principled way. Furthermore, the use of learned distributions obviates the need for hand-tuned image noise models and thresholds. The paper provides a detailed analysis of the statistics of how people appear in scenes and provides a connection between work on natural image statistics and the Bayesian tracking of people.

pdf pdf from publisher code DOI [BibTex]

pdf pdf from publisher code DOI [BibTex]


Thumb xl delatorreijcvteaser
A framework for robust subspace learning

De la Torre, F., Black, M. J.

International Journal of Computer Vision, 54(1-3):117-142, August 2003 (article)

Abstract
Many computer vision, signal processing and statistical problems can be posed as problems of learning low dimensional linear or multi-linear models. These models have been widely used for the representation of shape, appearance, motion, etc., in computer vision applications. Methods for learning linear models can be seen as a special case of subspace fitting. One draw-back of previous learning methods is that they are based on least squares estimation techniques and hence fail to account for “outliers” which are common in realistic training sets. We review previous approaches for making linear learning methods robust to outliers and present a new method that uses an intra-sample outlier process to account for pixel outliers. We develop the theory of Robust Subspace Learning (RSL) for linear models within a continuous optimization framework based on robust M-estimation. The framework applies to a variety of linear learning problems in computer vision including eigen-analysis and structure from motion. Several synthetic and natural examples are used to develop and illustrate the theory and applications of robust subspace learning in computer vision.

pdf code pdf from publisher Project Page [BibTex]

pdf code pdf from publisher Project Page [BibTex]


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Guest editorial: Computational vision at Brown

Black, M. J., Kimia, B.

International Journal of Computer Vision, 54(1-3):5-11, August 2003 (article)

pdf pdf from publisher [BibTex]

pdf pdf from publisher [BibTex]


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Robust parameterized component analysis: Theory and applications to 2D facial appearance models

De la Torre, F., Black, M. J.

Computer Vision and Image Understanding, 91(1-2):53-71, July 2003 (article)

Abstract
Principal component analysis (PCA) has been successfully applied to construct linear models of shape, graylevel, and motion in images. In particular, PCA has been widely used to model the variation in the appearance of people's faces. We extend previous work on facial modeling for tracking faces in video sequences as they undergo significant changes due to facial expressions. Here we consider person-specific facial appearance models (PSFAM), which use modular PCA to model complex intra-person appearance changes. Such models require aligned visual training data; in previous work, this has involved a time consuming and error-prone hand alignment and cropping process. Instead, the main contribution of this paper is to introduce parameterized component analysis to learn a subspace that is invariant to affine (or higher order) geometric transformations. The automatic learning of a PSFAM given a training image sequence is posed as a continuous optimization problem and is solved with a mixture of stochastic and deterministic techniques achieving sub-pixel accuracy. We illustrate the use of the 2D PSFAM model with preliminary experiments relevant to applications including video-conferencing and avatar animation.

pdf [BibTex]

pdf [BibTex]


no image
A Gaussian mixture model for the motor cortical coding of hand motion

Wu, W., Mumford, D., Black, M. J., Gao, Y., Bienenstock, E., Donoghue, J. P.

Neural Control of Movement, Santa Barbara, CA, April 2003 (conference)

abstract [BibTex]

abstract [BibTex]


Thumb xl bildschirmfoto 2013 01 15 um 09.35.12
Connecting brains with machines: The neural control of 2D cursor movement

Black, M. J., Bienenstock, E., Donoghue, J. P., Serruya, M., Wu, W., Gao, Y.

In 1st International IEEE/EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering, pages: 580-583, Capri, Italy, March 2003 (inproceedings)

pdf [BibTex]

pdf [BibTex]


Thumb xl bildschirmfoto 2013 01 15 um 09.44.01
A quantitative comparison of linear and non-linear models of motor cortical activity for the encoding and decoding of arm motions

Gao, Y., Black, M. J., Bienenstock, E., Wu, W., Donoghue, J. P.

In 1st International IEEE/EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering, pages: 189-192, Capri, Italy, March 2003 (inproceedings)

pdf [BibTex]

pdf [BibTex]


no image
Accuracy of manual spike sorting: Results for the Utah intracortical array

Wood, F., Fellows, M., Vargas-Irwin, C., Black, M. J., Donoghue, J. P.

Program No. 279.2. 2003, Abstract Viewer and Itinerary Planner, Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC, 2003, Online (conference)

abstract [BibTex]

abstract [BibTex]


no image
Specular flow and the perception of surface reflectance

Roth, S., Domini, F., Black, M. J.

Journal of Vision, 3 (9): 413a, 2003 (conference)

abstract poster [BibTex]

abstract poster [BibTex]


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Attractive people: Assembling loose-limbed models using non-parametric belief propagation

Sigal, L., Isard, M. I., Sigelman, B. H., Black, M. J.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 16, NIPS, pages: 1539-1546, (Editors: S. Thrun and L. K. Saul and B. Schölkopf), MIT Press, 2003 (inproceedings)

Abstract
The detection and pose estimation of people in images and video is made challenging by the variability of human appearance, the complexity of natural scenes, and the high dimensionality of articulated body models. To cope with these problems we represent the 3D human body as a graphical model in which the relationships between the body parts are represented by conditional probability distributions. We formulate the pose estimation problem as one of probabilistic inference over a graphical model where the random variables correspond to the individual limb parameters (position and orientation). Because the limbs are described by 6-dimensional vectors encoding pose in 3-space, discretization is impractical and the random variables in our model must be continuous-valued. To approximate belief propagation in such a graph we exploit a recently introduced generalization of the particle filter. This framework facilitates the automatic initialization of the body-model from low level cues and is robust to occlusion of body parts and scene clutter.

pdf (color) pdf (black and white) [BibTex]

pdf (color) pdf (black and white) [BibTex]


Thumb xl bildschirmfoto 2013 01 15 um 09.48.31
Neural decoding of cursor motion using a Kalman filter

(Nominated: Best student paper)

Wu, W., Black, M. J., Gao, Y., Bienenstock, E., Serruya, M., Shaikhouni, A., Donoghue, J. P.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 15, pages: 133-140, MIT Press, 2003 (inproceedings)

pdf [BibTex]

pdf [BibTex]

1999


Thumb xl bildschirmfoto 2013 01 14 um 09.07.06
Edges as outliers: Anisotropic smoothing using local image statistics

Black, M. J., Sapiro, G.

In Scale-Space Theories in Computer Vision, Second Int. Conf., Scale-Space ’99, pages: 259-270, LNCS 1682, Springer, Corfu, Greece, September 1999 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Edges are viewed as statistical outliers with respect to local image gradient magnitudes. Within local image regions we compute a robust statistical measure of the gradient variation and use this in an anisotropic diffusion framework to determine a spatially varying "edge-stopping" parameter σ. We show how to determine this parameter for two edge-stopping functions described in the literature (Perona-Malik and the Tukey biweight). Smoothing of the image is related the local texture and in regions of low texture, small gradient values may be treated as edges whereas in regions of high texture, large gradient magnitudes are necessary before an edge is preserved. Intuitively these results have similarities with human perceptual phenomena such as masking and "popout". Results are shown on a variety of standard images.

pdf [BibTex]

1999

pdf [BibTex]


Thumb xl bildschirmfoto 2013 01 07 um 12.35.15
Probabilistic detection and tracking of motion discontinuities

(Marr Prize, Honorable Mention)

Black, M. J., Fleet, D. J.

In Int. Conf. on Computer Vision, ICCV-99, pages: 551-558, ICCV, Corfu, Greece, September 1999 (inproceedings)

pdf [BibTex]

pdf [BibTex]


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Artscience Sciencart

Black, M. J., Levy, D., PamelaZ,

In Art and Innovation: The Xerox PARC Artist-in-Residence Program, pages: 244-300, (Editors: Harris, C.), MIT-Press, 1999 (incollection)

Abstract
One of the effects of the PARC Artist In Residence (PAIR) program has been to expose the strong connections between scientists and artists. Both do what they do because they need to do it. They are often called upon to justify their work in order to be allowed to continue to do it. They need to justify it to funders, to sponsoring institutions, corporations, the government, the public. They publish papers, teach workshops, and write grants touting the educational or health benefits of what they do. All of these things are to some extent valid, but the fact of the matter is: artists and scientists do their work because they are driven to do it. They need to explore and create.

This chapter attempts to give a flavor of one multi-way "PAIRing" between performance artist PamelaZ and two PARC researchers, Michael Black and David Levy. The three of us paired up because we found each other interesting. We chose each other. While most artists in the program are paired with a single researcher Pamela jokingly calls herself a bigamist for choosing two PAIR "husbands" with different backgrounds and interests.

There are no "rules" to the PAIR program; no one told us what to do with our time. Despite this we all had a sense that we needed to produce something tangible during Pamela's year-long residency. In fact, Pamela kept extending her residency because she did not feel as though we had actually made anything concrete. The interesting thing was that all along we were having great conversations, some of which Pamela recorded. What we did not see at the time was that it was these conversations between artists and scientists that are at the heart of the PAIR program and that these conversations were changing the way we thought about our own work and the relationships between science and art.

To give these conversations their due, and to allow the reader into our PAIR interactions, we include two of our many conversations in this chapter.

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


Thumb xl bildschirmfoto 2012 12 06 um 09.38.15
Parameterized modeling and recognition of activities

Yacoob, Y., Black, M. J.

Computer Vision and Image Understanding, 73(2):232-247, 1999 (article)

Abstract
In this paper we consider a class of human activities—atomic activities—which can be represented as a set of measurements over a finite temporal window (e.g., the motion of human body parts during a walking cycle) and which has a relatively small space of variations in performance. A new approach for modeling and recognition of atomic activities that employs principal component analysis and analytical global transformations is proposed. The modeling of sets of exemplar instances of activities that are similar in duration and involve similar body part motions is achieved by parameterizing their representation using principal component analysis. The recognition of variants of modeled activities is achieved by searching the space of admissible parameterized transformations that these activities can undergo. This formulation iteratively refines the recognition of the class to which the observed activity belongs and the transformation parameters that relate it to the model in its class. We provide several experiments on recognition of articulated and deformable human motions from image motion parameters.

pdf pdf from publisher DOI [BibTex]

pdf pdf from publisher DOI [BibTex]


Thumb xl bildschirmfoto 2013 01 14 um 09.12.47
Explaining optical flow events with parameterized spatio-temporal models

Black, M. J.

In IEEE Proc. Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, CVPR’99, pages: 326-332, IEEE, Fort Collins, CO, 1999 (inproceedings)

pdf video [BibTex]

pdf video [BibTex]

1998


Thumb xl bildschirmfoto 2012 12 06 um 10.05.20
Summarization of video-taped presentations: Automatic analysis of motion and gesture

Ju, S. X., Black, M. J., Minneman, S., Kimber, D.

IEEE Trans. on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology, 8(5):686-696, September 1998 (article)

Abstract
This paper presents an automatic system for analyzing and annotating video sequences of technical talks. Our method uses a robust motion estimation technique to detect key frames and segment the video sequence into subsequences containing a single overhead slide. The subsequences are stabilized to remove motion that occurs when the speaker adjusts their slides. Any changes remaining between frames in the stabilized sequences may be due to speaker gestures such as pointing or writing, and we use active contours to automatically track these potential gestures. Given the constrained domain, we define a simple set of actions that can be recognized based on the active contour shape and motion. The recognized actions provide an annotation of the sequence that can be used to access a condensed version of the talk from a Web page.

pdf pdf from publisher DOI [BibTex]

1998

pdf pdf from publisher DOI [BibTex]


Thumb xl bildschirmfoto 2012 12 06 um 12.22.18
Robust anisotropic diffusion

Black, M. J., Sapiro, G., Marimont, D., Heeger, D.

IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, 7(3):421-432, March 1998 (article)

Abstract
Relations between anisotropic diffusion and robust statistics are described in this paper. Specifically, we show that anisotropic diffusion can be seen as a robust estimation procedure that estimates a piecewise smooth image from a noisy input image. The edge-stopping; function in the anisotropic diffusion equation is closely related to the error norm and influence function in the robust estimation framework. This connection leads to a new edge-stopping; function based on Tukey's biweight robust estimator that preserves sharper boundaries than previous formulations and improves the automatic stopping of the diffusion. The robust statistical interpretation also provides a means for detecting the boundaries (edges) between the piecewise smooth regions in an image that has been smoothed with anisotropic diffusion. Additionally, we derive a relationship between anisotropic diffusion and regularization with line processes. Adding constraints on the spatial organization of the line processes allows us to develop new anisotropic diffusion equations that result in a qualitative improvement in the continuity of edges

pdf pdf from publisher [BibTex]

pdf pdf from publisher [BibTex]


Thumb xl bildschirmfoto 2013 01 14 um 09.33.36
The Digital Office: Overview

Black, M., Berard, F., Jepson, A., Newman, W., Saund, E., Socher, G., Taylor, M.

In AAAI Spring Symposium on Intelligent Environments, pages: 1-6, Stanford, March 1998 (inproceedings)

pdf [BibTex]

pdf [BibTex]


Thumb xl bildschirmfoto 2013 01 14 um 09.46.31
A framework for modeling appearance change in image sequences

Black, M. J., Fleet, D. J., Yacoob, Y.

In Sixth International Conf. on Computer Vision, ICCV’98, pages: 660-667, Mumbai, India, January 1998 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Image "appearance" may change over time due to a variety of causes such as 1) object or camera motion; 2) generic photometric events including variations in illumination (e.g. shadows) and specular reflections; and 3) "iconic changes" which are specific to the objects being viewed and include complex occlusion events and changes in the material properties of the objects. We propose a general framework for representing and recovering these "appearance changes" in an image sequence as a "mixture" of different causes. The approach generalizes previous work on optical flow to provide a richer description of image events and more reliable estimates of image motion.

pdf video [BibTex]

pdf video [BibTex]


Thumb xl bildschirmfoto 2013 01 14 um 09.49.49
Parameterized modeling and recognition of activities

Yacoob, Y., Black, M. J.

In Sixth International Conf. on Computer Vision, ICCV’98, pages: 120-127, Mumbai, India, January 1998 (inproceedings)

Abstract
A framework for modeling and recognition of temporal activities is proposed. The modeling of sets of exemplar activities is achieved by parameterizing their representation in the form of principal components. Recognition of spatio-temporal variants of modeled activities is achieved by parameterizing the search in the space of admissible transformations that the activities can undergo. Experiments on recognition of articulated and deformable object motion from image motion parameters are presented.

pdf [BibTex]

pdf [BibTex]


Thumb xl bildschirmfoto 2013 01 14 um 09.23.21
Motion feature detection using steerable flow fields

Fleet, D. J., Black, M. J., Jepson, A. D.

In IEEE Conf. on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, CVPR-98, pages: 274-281, IEEE, Santa Barbara, CA, 1998 (inproceedings)

Abstract
The estimation and detection of occlusion boundaries and moving bars are important and challenging problems in image sequence analysis. Here, we model such motion features as linear combinations of steerable basis flow fields. These models constrain the interpretation of image motion, and are used in the same way as translational or affine motion models. We estimate the subspace coefficients of the motion feature models directly from spatiotemporal image derivatives using a robust regression method. From the subspace coefficients we detect the presence of a motion feature and solve for the orientation of the feature and the relative velocities of the surfaces. Our method does not require the prior computation of optical flow and recovers accurate estimates of orientation and velocity.

pdf [BibTex]

pdf [BibTex]


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PLAYBOT: A visually-guided robot for physically disabled children

Tsotsos, J. K., Verghese, G., Dickinson, S., Jenkin, M., Jepson, A., Milios, E., Nuflo, F., Stevenson, S., Black, M., Metaxas, D., Culhane, S., Ye, Y., Mann, R.

Image & Vision Computing, Special Issue on Vision for the Disabled, 16(4):275-292, 1998 (article)

Abstract
This paper overviews the PLAYBOT project, a long-term, large-scale research program whose goal is to provide a directable robot which may enable physically disabled children to access and manipulate toys. This domain is the first test domain, but there is nothing inherent in the design of PLAYBOT that prohibits its extension to other tasks. The research is guided by several important goals: vision is the primary sensor; vision is task directed; the robot must be able to visually search its environment; object and event recognition are basic capabilities; environments must be natural and dynamic; users and environments are assumed to be unpredictable; task direction and reactivity must be smoothly integrated; and safety is of high importance. The emphasis of the research has been on vision for the robot this is the most challenging research aspect and the major bottleneck to the development of intelligent robots. Since the control framework is behavior-based, the visual capabilities of PLAYBOT are described in terms of visual behaviors. Many of the components of PLAYBOT are briefly described and several examples of implemented sub-systems are shown. The paper concludes with a description of the current overall system implementation, and a complete example of PLAYBOT performing a simple task.

pdf pdf from publisher DOI [BibTex]

pdf pdf from publisher DOI [BibTex]