Human extremity detection and its applications in action detection and recognition
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It is proven that locations of internal body joints are sufficient visual cues to characterize human motion. In this dissertation I propose that locations of human extremities including heads, hands and feet provide powerful approximation to internal body motion. I propose detection of precise extremities from contours obtained from image segmentation or contour tracking. Junctions of medial axis of contours are selected as stars. Contour points with a local maximum distance to various stars are chosen as candidate extremities. All the candidates are filtered by cues including proximity to other candidates, visibility to stars and robustness to noise smoothing parameters. I present my applications of using precise extremities for fast human action detection and recognition. Environment specific features are built from precise extremities and feed into a block based Hidden Markov Model to decode the fence climbing action from continuous videos. Precise extremities are grouped into stable contacts if the same extremity does not move for a certain duration. Such stable contacts are utilized to decompose a long continuous video into shorter pieces. Each piece is associated with certain motion features to form primitive motion units. In this way the sequence is abstracted into more meaningful segments and a searching strategy is used to detect the fence climbing action. Moreover, I propose the histogram of extremities as a general posture descriptor. It is tested in a Hidden Markov Model based framework for action recognition. I further propose detection of probable extremities from raw images without any segmentation. Modeling the extremity as an image patch instead of a single point on the contour helps overcome the segmentation difficulty and increase the detection robustness. I represent the extremity patches with Histograms of Oriented Gradients. The detection is achieved by window based image scanning. In order to reduce computation load, I adopt the integral histograms technique without sacrificing accuracy. The result is a probability map where each pixel denotes probability of the patch forming the specific class of extremities. With a probable extremity map, I propose the histogram of probable extremities as another general posture descriptor. It is tested on several data sets and the results are compared with that of precise extremities to show the superiority of probable extremities.
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