An alignment based similarity measure for hand detection in cluttered sign language video
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Citation (published version)Thangali, Ashwin; Sclaroff, Stan. "An alignment based similarity measure for hand detection in cluttered sign language video", Technical Report BUCS-TR-2009-009, Computer Science Department, Boston University, March 11, 2009. [Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2144/1733]
Locating hands in sign language video is challenging due to a number of factors. Hand appearance varies widely across signers due to anthropometric variations and varying levels of signer proficiency. Video can be captured under varying illumination, camera resolutions, and levels of scene clutter, e.g., high-res video captured in a studio vs. low-res video gathered by a web cam in a user’s home. Moreover, the signers’ clothing varies, e.g., skin-toned clothing vs. contrasting clothing, short-sleeved vs. long-sleeved shirts, etc. In this work, the hand detection problem is addressed in an appearance matching framework. The Histogram of Oriented Gradient (HOG) based matching score function is reformulated to allow non-rigid alignment between pairs of images to account for hand shape variation. The resulting alignment score is used within a Support Vector Machine hand/not-hand classifier for hand detection. The new matching score function yields improved performance (in ROC area and hand detection rate) over the Vocabulary Guided Pyramid Match Kernel (VGPMK) and the traditional, rigid HOG distance on American Sign Language video gestured by expert signers. The proposed match score function is computationally less expensive (for training and testing), has fewer parameters and is less sensitive to parameter settings than VGPMK. The proposed detector works well on test sequences from an inexpert signer in a non-studio setting with cluttered background.