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23 June 1993 Topology-independent shape modeling scheme
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Developing shape models is an important aspect of computer vision research. Geometric and differential properties of the surface can be computed from shape models. They also aid the tasks of object representation and recognition. In this paper we present an innovative new approach for shape modeling which, while retaining important features of the existing methods, overcomes most of their limitations. Our technique can be applied to model arbitrarily complex shapes, shapes with protrusions, and to situations where no a priori assumption about the object's topology can be made. A single instance of our model, when presented with an image having more than one object of interest, has the ability to split freely to represent each object. Our method is based on the level set ideas developed by Osher & Sethian to follow propagating solid/liquid interfaces with curvature-dependent speeds. The interface is a closed, nonintersecting, hypersurface flowing along its gradient field with constant speed or a speed that depends on the curvature. We move the interface by solving a `Hamilton-Jacobi' type equation written for a function in which the interface is a particular level set. A speed function synthesized from the image is used to stop the interface in the vicinity of the object boundaries. The resulting equations of motion are solved by numerical techniques borrowed from the technology of hyperbolic conservation laws. An added advantage of this scheme is that it can easily be extended to any number of space dimensions. The efficacy of the scheme is demonstrated with numerical experiments on synthesized images and noisy medical images.
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Ravikanth Malladi, James A. Sethian, and Baba C. Vemuri "Topology-independent shape modeling scheme", Proc. SPIE 2031, Geometric Methods in Computer Vision II, (23 June 1993);

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