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17 May 2016 Toward automated face detection in thermal and polarimetric thermal imagery
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Visible spectrum face detection algorithms perform pretty reliably under controlled lighting conditions. However, variations in illumination and application of cosmetics can distort the features used by common face detectors, thereby degrade their detection performance. Thermal and polarimetric thermal facial imaging are relatively invariant to illumination and robust to the application of makeup, due to their measurement of emitted radiation instead of reflected light signals. The objective of this work is to evaluate a government off-the-shelf wavelet based naïve-Bayes face detection algorithm and a commercial off-the-shelf Viola-Jones cascade face detection algorithm on face imagery acquired in different spectral bands. New classifiers were trained using the Viola-Jones cascade object detection framework with preprocessed facial imagery. Preprocessing using Difference of Gaussians (DoG) filtering reduces the modality gap between facial signatures across the different spectral bands, thus enabling more correlated histogram of oriented gradients (HOG) features to be extracted from the preprocessed thermal and visible face images. Since the availability of training data is much more limited in the thermal spectrum than in the visible spectrum, it is not feasible to train a robust multi-modal face detector using thermal imagery alone. A large training dataset was constituted with DoG filtered visible and thermal imagery, which was subsequently used to generate a custom trained Viola-Jones detector. A 40% increase in face detection rate was achieved on a testing dataset, as compared to the performance of a pre-trained/baseline face detector. Insights gained in this research are valuable in the development of more robust multi-modal face detectors.
© (2016) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Christopher Gordon, Mark Acosta, Nathan Short, Shuowen Hu, and Alex L. Chan "Toward automated face detection in thermal and polarimetric thermal imagery", Proc. SPIE 9842, Signal Processing, Sensor/Information Fusion, and Target Recognition XXV, 984212 (17 May 2016);

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