Daniel Bardsley

A curious mix of personal shenanigans and computer vision research

Banana Screen

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Banana Screen ScreenshotBanana Screen is an interesting little application that allows you to lock and unlock your computer using face recognition. The application is simple to setup and use and makes unlocking your computer faster than having to type a password each time you sit down.

The program is currently in beta so expect improvements in the coming months. At the moment the balance between ease of use and accuracy is not quite right. The application allows you to register a number of different face models which allow recognition under a variety of lighting conditions and face poses, however, I’ve found that if you over train the model the systems tends to produce far too many false positives. If the model is under-trained then lighting conditions at different times of the day tend to produce too many false negatives. Furthermore the lack of control over which input images are used as a part of the recognition model means that in order to correct the under-training or over-training issues the whole face model must be deleted and training started from scratch. The forums suggest that people at Banana Screen are working on these problems though so whilst at the moment it is not secure enough to replace traditional password entry in environments where security is of particular importance it is an interesting toy for the home PC user. Hopefully the transition for toy to security application will come as the program matures.
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Ron Fedkiw: Computer Graphics Simulations

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Computer graphics fire demoThis is more computer graphics than vision but the videos on Ron Fedkiw’s home page are simply amazing.

Fedkiw received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from UCLA in 1996 and did postdoctoral studies both at UCLA in Mathematics and at Caltech in Aeronautics before joining the Stanford Computer Science Department. He was awarded the National Academy of Science Award for Initiatives in Research, a Packard Foundation Fellowship, a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), a Sloan Research Fellowship, the ACM Siggraph Significant New Researcher Award, an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program Award (ONR YIP), a Robert N. Noyce Family Faculty Scholarship, two distinguished teaching awards, etc. Currently he is on the editorial board of the Journal of Computational Physics, Journal of Scientific Computing, SIAM Journal on Imaging Sciences, and Communications in Mathematical Sciences, and he participates in the reviewing process of a number of journals and funding agencies. He has published over 80 research papers in computational physics, computer graphics and vision, as well as a book on level set methods.
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Reactable

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ReactableFrom the Reactable homepage: “The reactable is a collaborative electronic music instrument with a tabletop tangible multi-touch interface. Several simultaneous performers share complete control over the instrument by moving and rotating physical objects on a luminous round table surface. By moving and relating these objects, representing components of a classic modular synthesizer, users can create complex and dynamic sonic topologies, with generators, filters and modulators, in a kind of tangible modular synthesizer or graspable flow-controlled programming language.
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Computers outperform humans at Face Recognition

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Sample 3D ModelThe recently released results of the Face Recognition Grand Challenge now show that computers are capable at outperforming humans in face recognition tasks. The recent match up of face-recognition algorithms showed that machine recognition of human individuals has improved tenfold since 2002 and a hundredfold since 1995. Indeed, the best face-recognition algorithms now perform more accurately than most humans can manage. Overall, facial-recognition technology is advancing rapidly.

Check out Mark Williams’s article for the Technology Review for a rundown of some of the entries for the grand challenge. This story was also recently covered on slashdot.

ARToolkit Experiments

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ARToolkit provides a method of tracking markers in a video sequence in order to determine a given cameras projection matrix. This allows the cameras position and orientation in relation to the marker to be determined and for virtual objects to be projected into the viewing plane. We loaded our reconstructed head models in conjunction with ARToolkit for the following ARToolkit test application:
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Facial Animation Toolset for Maya

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Facial Animation SetupFrom the Institute of Animation homepage:

“We have developed a set of specialized Maya-tools targeted at reducing the amount of tedious work associated with the setup process of high quality, animatable characters. The Adaptable Facial Setup is capable of driving any humanoid geometry, drawing from an extensive, FACS-based library of facial movement components.

The process of fitting the head skeleton to the individual geometry is simplified by offering a standard set of skin weights that accomodates the typical deformation regions of the face. Any skin weights may be cloned topology-independent from one head to another utilizing the Geometry Matching Tool. The Corrective Blendshape Manager offers a useful way to add subtle deformations to a skinned mesh. Blendshape targets can be created and edited, and are computed with respect to the bind pose of the skinned mesh.”

Check out the video below to see whats possible with this tool.
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ARToolkit

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ARToolkit ScreenshotARToolkit is an excellent starting point for developing Augmented Reality applications. The demo applications are impressive right out of the box. You can download the toolkit from the ARToolkit homepage.

ARToolKit is a software library for building Augmented Reality (AR) applications. These are applications that involve the overlay of virtual imagery on the real world. For example, in the image to the right a three-dimensional virtual character appears standing on a real card. It can be seen by the user in the head set display they are wearing. When the user moves the card, the virtual character moves with it and appears attached to the real object.

Another useful tool for use in conjunction with ARToolkit is the ARGUI interface. Check out Lief Oppermanns page for more information and detailed install instructions (German).

Simple Visual Controller

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Visual Controller ScreenshotI recently implemented a simple historgram backprojection based vision controller. The sample video (below) shows a hand being tracked with the position of the hand influencing the output of the controller. Distance from the camera is calculated using the area of the object being tracked.

Feel free to download the source code with compiled windows binaries. A working OpenCV installation is also required for this demo to function. Visual Studio 6 project files included. Feel free to mail me with any comments you may have.
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Tornados in Orlando

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Orlando StormsWe went to Kennedy Space Centre today, but not before we had to drive some of the worst rain I’ve ever seen. See the photo gallery for the conditions we were driving in. In the news today they are reporting that tornados hit Orlando not far from here and most flights out of Orlando international got cancelled and or severly delayed. I think we drove through some of the worst of the storm.

The weather had cleared up by the time we reached KSC though and we managed to get round and see everything of interest. Check the photo gallery to see what we got up to.

Universal Spree

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UniversalWe spent all day at Universal studios today. Certainly some of the best rollercosters I’ve ever been on. It’s been in the 30’s pretty much all day too so the tan is coming on nicely. The hulk has to be one of the craziest rides about, most of the time your upside down or plummiting down a suitably steep drop. Bit of a pain in the arse queueing for 30 minutes but towards the end of the day you could pretty much walk straight onto any ride you fancied. The spiderman ride is also something to be experienced too, some of the 3D special effects are, well, special.

I’ve managed to fix the photo gallery now so all the latest pictures are avaliable there.
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