Investigation of New Techniques for Face detection

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Virginia Tech

The task of detecting human faces within either a still image or a video frame is one of the most popular object detection problems. For the last twenty years researchers have shown great interest in this problem because it is an essential pre-processing stage for computing systems that process human faces as input data. Example applications include face recognition systems, vision systems for autonomous robots, human computer interaction systems (HCI), surveillance systems, biometric based authentication systems, video transmission and video compression systems, and content based image retrieval systems.

In this thesis, non-traditional methods are investigated for detecting human faces within color images or video frames. The attempted methods are chosen such that the required computing power and memory consumption are adequate for real-time hardware implementation. First, a standard color image database is introduced in order to accomplish fair evaluation and benchmarking of face detection and skin segmentation approaches. Next, a new pre-processing scheme based on skin segmentation is presented to prepare the input image for feature extraction. The presented pre-processing scheme requires relatively low computing power and memory needs. Then, several feature extraction techniques are evaluated. This thesis introduces feature extraction based on Two Dimensional Discrete Cosine Transform (2D-DCT), Two Dimensional Discrete Wavelet Transform (2D-DWT), geometrical moment invariants, and edge detection. It also attempts to construct a hybrid feature vector by the fusion between 2D-DCT coefficients and edge information, as well as the fusion between 2D-DWT coefficients and geometrical moments. A self organizing map (SOM) based classifier is used within all the experiments to distinguish between facial and non-facial samples. Two strategies are tried to make the final decision from the output of a single SOM or multiple SOM. Finally, an FPGA based framework that implements the presented techniques, is presented as well as a partial implementation.

Every presented technique has been evaluated consistently using the same dataset. The experiments show very promising results. The highest detection rate of 89.2% was obtained when using a fusion between DCT coefficients and edge information to construct the feature vector. A second highest rate of 88.7% was achieved by using a fusion between DWT coefficients and geometrical moments. Finally, a third highest rate of 85.2% was obtained by calculating the moments of edges.

Self Organized Map (SOM), Edge Detection, Hybrid Feature Vector, Fusion, Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT), Geometrical Moments, Face Detection, Skin Segmentation, Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT)