Suau X. Human body analysis using depth data. Casas J, Ruiz-Hidalgo J. Universitat Polit├Ęcnica de Catalunya (UPC); 2013.  (10.67 MB)


Human body analysis is one of the broadest areas within the computer vision field. Researchers have put a strong effort in the human body analysis area, specially over the last decade, due to the technological improvements in both video cameras and processing power. Human body analysis covers topics such as person detection and segmentation, human motion tracking or action and behavior recognition. Even if human beings perform all these tasks naturally, they build-up a challenging problem from a computer vision point of view. Adverse situations such as viewing perspective, clutter and occlusions, lighting conditions or variability of behavior amongst persons may turn human body analysis into an arduous task.

In the computer vision field, the evolution of research works is usually tightly related to the technological progress of camera sensors and computer processing power. Traditional human body analysis methods are based on color cameras. Thus, the information is extracted from the raw color data, strongly limiting the proposals. An interesting quality leap was achieved by introducing the \emph{multiview} concept. That is to say, having multiple color cameras recording a single scene at the same time. With multiview approaches, 3D information is available by means of stereo matching algorithms. The fact of having 3D information is a key aspect in human motion analysis, since the human body moves in a three-dimensional space. Thus, problems such as occlusion and clutter may be overcome with 3D information.

The appearance of commercial depth cameras has supposed a second leap in the human body analysis field. While traditional multiview approaches required a cumbersome and expensive setup, as well as a fine camera calibration; novel depth cameras directly provide 3D information with a single camera sensor. Furthermore, depth cameras may be rapidly installed in a wide range of situations, enlarging the range of applications with respect to multiview approaches. Moreover, since depth cameras are based on infra-red light, they do not suffer from illumination variations.

In this thesis, we focus on the study of depth data applied to the human body analysis problem. We propose novel ways of describing depth data through specific descriptors, so that they emphasize helpful characteristics of the scene for further body analysis. These descriptors exploit the special 3D structure of depth data to outperform generalist 3D descriptors or color based ones. We also study the problem of person detection, proposing a highly robust and fast method to detect heads. Such method is extended to a hand tracker, which is used throughout the thesis as a helpful tool to enable further research. In the remainder of this dissertation, we focus on the hand analysis problem as a subarea of human body analysis. Given the recent appearance of depth cameras, there is a lack of public datasets. We contribute with a dataset for hand gesture recognition and fingertip localization using depth data. This dataset acts as a starting point of two proposals for hand gesture recognition and fingertip localization based on classification techniques. In these methods, we also exploit the above mentioned descriptor proposals to finely adapt to the nature of depth data.

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