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2018


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Instrumentation, Data, and Algorithms for Visually Understanding Haptic Surface Properties

Burka, A. L.

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA, August 2018, Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering (phdthesis)

Abstract
Autonomous robots need to efficiently walk over varied surfaces and grasp diverse objects. We hypothesize that the association between how such surfaces look and how they physically feel during contact can be learned from a database of matched haptic and visual data recorded from various end-effectors' interactions with hundreds of real-world surfaces. Testing this hypothesis required the creation of a new multimodal sensing apparatus, the collection of a large multimodal dataset, and development of a machine-learning pipeline. This thesis begins by describing the design and construction of the Portable Robotic Optical/Tactile ObservatioN PACKage (PROTONPACK, or Proton for short), an untethered handheld sensing device that emulates the capabilities of the human senses of vision and touch. Its sensory modalities include RGBD vision, egomotion, contact force, and contact vibration. Three interchangeable end-effectors (a steel tooling ball, an OptoForce three-axis force sensor, and a SynTouch BioTac artificial fingertip) allow for different material properties at the contact point and provide additional tactile data. We then detail the calibration process for the motion and force sensing systems, as well as several proof-of-concept surface discrimination experiments that demonstrate the reliability of the device and the utility of the data it collects. This thesis then presents a large-scale dataset of multimodal surface interaction recordings, including 357 unique surfaces such as furniture, fabrics, outdoor fixtures, and items from several private and public material sample collections. Each surface was touched with one, two, or three end-effectors, comprising approximately one minute per end-effector of tapping and dragging at various forces and speeds. We hope that the larger community of robotics researchers will find broad applications for the published dataset. Lastly, we demonstrate an algorithm that learns to estimate haptic surface properties given visual input. Surfaces were rated on hardness, roughness, stickiness, and temperature by the human experimenter and by a pool of purely visual observers. Then we trained an algorithm to perform the same task as well as infer quantitative properties calculated from the haptic data. Overall, the task of predicting haptic properties from vision alone proved difficult for both humans and computers, but a hybrid algorithm using a deep neural network and a support vector machine achieved a correlation between expected and actual regression output between approximately ρ = 0.3 and ρ = 0.5 on previously unseen surfaces.

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Project Page [BibTex]

2018


Project Page [BibTex]


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Robust Visual Augmented Reality in Robot-Assisted Surgery

Forte, M. P.

Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy, July 2018, Department of Electronic, Information, and Biomedical Engineering (mastersthesis)

Abstract
The broader research objective of this line of research is to test the hypothesis that real-time stereo video analysis and augmented reality can increase safety and task efficiency in robot-assisted surgery. This master’s thesis aims to solve the first step needed to achieve this goal: the creation of a robust system that delivers the envisioned feedback to a surgeon while he or she controls a surgical robot that is identical to those used on human patients. Several approaches for applying augmented reality to da Vinci Surgical Systems have been proposed, but none of them entirely rely on a clinical robot; specifically, they require additional sensors, depend on access to the da Vinci API, are designed for a very specific task, or were tested on systems that are starkly different from those in clinical use. There has also been prior work that presents the real-world camera view and the computer graphics on separate screens, or not in real time. In other scenarios, the digital information is overlaid manually by the surgeons themselves or by computer scientists, rather than being generated automatically in response to the surgeon’s actions. We attempted to overcome the aforementioned constraints by acquiring input signals from the da Vinci stereo endoscope and providing augmented reality to the console in real time (less than 150 ms delay, including the 62 ms of inherent latency of the da Vinci). The potential benefits of the resulting system are broad because it was built to be general, rather than customized for any specific task. The entire platform is compatible with any generation of the da Vinci System and does not require a dVRK (da Vinci Research Kit) or access to the API. Thus, it can be applied to existing da Vinci Systems in operating rooms around the world.

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Project Page [BibTex]

Project Page [BibTex]


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Colloidal Chemical Nanomotors

Alarcon-Correa, M.

Colloidal Chemical Nanomotors, pages: 150, Cuvillier Verlag, MPI-IS , June 2018 (phdthesis)

Abstract
Synthetic sophisticated nanostructures represent a fundamental building block for the development of nanotechnology. The fabrication of nanoparticles complex in structure and material composition is key to build nanomachines that can operate as man-made nanoscale motors, which autonomously convert external energy into motion. To achieve this, asymmetric nanoparticles were fabricated combining a physical vapor deposition technique known as NanoGLAD and wet chemical synthesis. This thesis primarily concerns three complex colloidal systems that have been developed: i)Hollow nanocup inclusion complexes that have a single Au nanoparticle in their pocket. The Au particle can be released with an external trigger. ii)The smallest self-propelling nanocolloids that have been made to date, which give rise to a local concentration gradient that causes enhanced diffusion of the particles. iii)Enzyme-powered pumps that have been assembled using bacteriophages as biological nanoscaffolds. This construct also can be used for enzyme recovery after heterogeneous catalysis.

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Model-based Optical Flow: Layers, Learning, and Geometry

Wulff, J.

Tuebingen University, April 2018 (phdthesis)

Abstract
The estimation of motion in video sequences establishes temporal correspondences between pixels and surfaces and allows reasoning about a scene using multiple frames. Despite being a focus of research for over three decades, computing motion, or optical flow, remains challenging due to a number of difficulties, including the treatment of motion discontinuities and occluded regions, and the integration of information from more than two frames. One reason for these issues is that most optical flow algorithms only reason about the motion of pixels on the image plane, while not taking the image formation pipeline or the 3D structure of the world into account. One approach to address this uses layered models, which represent the occlusion structure of a scene and provide an approximation to the geometry. The goal of this dissertation is to show ways to inject additional knowledge about the scene into layered methods, making them more robust, faster, and more accurate. First, this thesis demonstrates the modeling power of layers using the example of motion blur in videos, which is caused by fast motion relative to the exposure time of the camera. Layers segment the scene into regions that move coherently while preserving their occlusion relationships. The motion of each layer therefore directly determines its motion blur. At the same time, the layered model captures complex blur overlap effects at motion discontinuities. Using layers, we can thus formulate a generative model for blurred video sequences, and use this model to simultaneously deblur a video and compute accurate optical flow for highly dynamic scenes containing motion blur. Next, we consider the representation of the motion within layers. Since, in a layered model, important motion discontinuities are captured by the segmentation into layers, the flow within each layer varies smoothly and can be approximated using a low dimensional subspace. We show how this subspace can be learned from training data using principal component analysis (PCA), and that flow estimation using this subspace is computationally efficient. The combination of the layered model and the low-dimensional subspace gives the best of both worlds, sharp motion discontinuities from the layers and computational efficiency from the subspace. Lastly, we show how layered methods can be dramatically improved using simple semantics. Instead of treating all layers equally, a semantic segmentation divides the scene into its static parts and moving objects. Static parts of the scene constitute a large majority of what is shown in typical video sequences; yet, in such regions optical flow is fully constrained by the depth structure of the scene and the camera motion. After segmenting out moving objects, we consider only static regions, and explicitly reason about the structure of the scene and the camera motion, yielding much better optical flow estimates. Furthermore, computing the structure of the scene allows to better combine information from multiple frames, resulting in high accuracies even in occluded regions. For moving regions, we compute the flow using a generic optical flow method, and combine it with the flow computed for the static regions to obtain a full optical flow field. By combining layered models of the scene with reasoning about the dynamic behavior of the real, three-dimensional world, the methods presented herein push the envelope of optical flow computation in terms of robustness, speed, and accuracy, giving state-of-the-art results on benchmarks and pointing to important future research directions for the estimation of motion in natural scenes.

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Official link DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Detailed Dense Inference with Convolutional Neural Networks via Discrete Wavelet Transform

Ma, L., Stueckler, J., Wu, T., Cremers, D.

arxiv, 2018, arXiv:1808.01834 (techreport)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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A virtual reality environment for experiments in assistive robotics and neural interfaces

Bustamante, S.

Graduate School of Neural Information Processing, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2018 (mastersthesis)

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Optimal Trajectory Generation and Learning Control for Robot Table Tennis

Koc, O.

Technical University Darmstadt, Germany, 2018 (phdthesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Distribution-Dissimilarities in Machine Learning

Simon-Gabriel, C. J.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2018 (phdthesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Domain Adaptation Under Causal Assumptions

Lechner, T.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2018 (mastersthesis)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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A Causal Perspective on Deep Representation Learning

Suter, R.

ETH Zurich, 2018 (mastersthesis)

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[BibTex]


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Probabilistic Approaches to Stochastic Optimization

Mahsereci, M.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2018 (phdthesis)

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link (url) Project Page [BibTex]

link (url) Project Page [BibTex]


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Reinforcement Learning for High-Speed Robotics with Muscular Actuation

Guist, S.

Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg , 2018 (mastersthesis)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Probabilistic Ordinary Differential Equation Solvers — Theory and Applications

Schober, M.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2018 (phdthesis)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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A machine learning approach to taking EEG-based computer interfaces out of the lab

Jayaram, V.

Graduate Training Centre of Neuroscience, IMPRS, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2018 (phdthesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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XMCD investigations on new hard magnetic systems

Chen, Y.

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 2018 (phdthesis)

mms

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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High-Resolution X-ray Ptychography for Magnetic Imaging

Bykova, I.

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 2018 (phdthesis)

mms

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

2012


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Virtual Human Bodies with Clothing and Hair: From Images to Animation

Guan, P.

Brown University, Department of Computer Science, December 2012 (phdthesis)

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pdf [BibTex]

2012


pdf [BibTex]


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Scalable graph kernels

Shervashidze, N.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, October 2012 (phdthesis)

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Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Coregistration: Supplemental Material

Hirshberg, D., Loper, M., Rachlin, E., Black, M. J.

(No. 4), Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, October 2012 (techreport)

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pdf [BibTex]

pdf [BibTex]


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Lie Bodies: A Manifold Representation of 3D Human Shape. Supplemental Material

Freifeld, O., Black, M. J.

(No. 5), Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, October 2012 (techreport)

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pdf Project Page [BibTex]

pdf Project Page [BibTex]


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MPI-Sintel Optical Flow Benchmark: Supplemental Material

Butler, D. J., Wulff, J., Stanley, G. B., Black, M. J.

(No. 6), Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, October 2012 (techreport)

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pdf Project Page [BibTex]

pdf Project Page [BibTex]


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From Pixels to Layers: Joint Motion Estimation and Segmentation

Sun, D.

Brown University, Department of Computer Science, July 2012 (phdthesis)

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pdf [BibTex]

pdf [BibTex]


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Learning Motor Skills: From Algorithms to Robot Experiments

Kober, J.

Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany, March 2012 (phdthesis)

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PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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High Gamma-Power Predicts Performance in Brain-Computer Interfacing

Grosse-Wentrup, M., Schölkopf, B.

(3), Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme, Tübingen, February 2012 (techreport)

Abstract
Subjects operating a brain-computer interface (BCI) based on sensorimotor rhythms exhibit large variations in performance over the course of an experimental session. Here, we show that high-frequency gamma-oscillations, originating in fronto-parietal networks, predict such variations on a trial-to-trial basis. We interpret this nding as empirical support for an in uence of attentional networks on BCI-performance via modulation of the sensorimotor rhythm.

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PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Structure and Dynamics of Diffusion Networks

Gomez Rodriguez, M.

Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, 2012 (phdthesis)

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Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Blind Deconvolution in Scientific Imaging & Computational Photography

Hirsch, M.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2012 (phdthesis)

ei

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Wasserstoffspeicherkapazität poröser Materialien in Kryoadsorptionstanks

Schlichtenmayer, M.

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 2012 (phdthesis)

mms

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Behandlung stark nichtkollinearer Magnetisierungsstrukturen mit der Spin-Cluster-Entwicklung

Dietermann, F.

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 2012 (phdthesis)

mms

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Spinwelleninduziertes Schalten magnetischer Vortexkerne

Kammerer, M.

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 2012 (phdthesis)

mms

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Die Stabilität des stromtragenden Zustands in MgB2 Schichten mit modifizierter Mikrostruktur

Treiber, S.

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 2012 (phdthesis)

mms

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Hartmagnetische L10-FePt basierte gro\ssflächige Nanomuster mittels Nanoimprint-Lithografie

Bublat, T.

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 2012 (phdthesis)

mms

[BibTex]

[BibTex]

2008


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Frequent Subgraph Retrieval in Geometric Graph Databases

Nowozin, S., Tsuda, K.

(180), Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, November 2008 (techreport)

Abstract
Discovery of knowledge from geometric graph databases is of particular importance in chemistry and biology, because chemical compounds and proteins are represented as graphs with 3D geometric coordinates. In such applications, scientists are not interested in the statistics of the whole database. Instead they need information about a novel drug candidate or protein at hand, represented as a query graph. We propose a polynomial-delay algorithm for geometric frequent subgraph retrieval. It enumerates all subgraphs of a single given query graph which are frequent geometric epsilon-subgraphs under the entire class of rigid geometric transformations in a database. By using geometric epsilon-subgraphs, we achieve tolerance against variations in geometry. We compare the proposed algorithm to gSpan on chemical compound data, and we show that for a given minimum support the total number of frequent patterns is substantially limited by requiring geometric matching. Although the computation time per pattern is larger than for non-geometric graph mining, the total time is within a reasonable level even for small minimum support.

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PDF [BibTex]

2008


PDF [BibTex]


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Simultaneous Implicit Surface Reconstruction and Meshing

Giesen, J., Maier, M., Schölkopf, B.

(179), Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, November 2008 (techreport)

Abstract
We investigate an implicit method to compute a piecewise linear representation of a surface from a set of sample points. As implicit surface functions we use the weighted sum of piecewise linear kernel functions. For such a function we can partition Rd in such a way that these functions are linear on the subsets of the partition. For each subset in the partition we can then compute the zero level set of the function exactly as the intersection of a hyperplane with the subset.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Taxonomy Inference Using Kernel Dependence Measures

Blaschko, M., Gretton, A.

(181), Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, November 2008 (techreport)

Abstract
We introduce a family of unsupervised algorithms, numerical taxonomy clustering, to simultaneously cluster data, and to learn a taxonomy that encodes the relationship between the clusters. The algorithms work by maximizing the dependence between the taxonomy and the original data. The resulting taxonomy is a more informative visualization of complex data than simple clustering; in addition, taking into account the relations between different clusters is shown to substantially improve the quality of the clustering, when compared with state-of-the-art algorithms in the literature (both spectral clustering and a previous dependence maximization approach). We demonstrate our algorithm on image and text data.

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PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Large Scale Variational Inference and Experimental Design for Sparse Generalized Linear Models

Seeger, M., Nickisch, H.

(175), Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, September 2008 (techreport)

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Block-Iterative Algorithms for Non-Negative Matrix Approximation

Sra, S.

(176), Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, September 2008 (techreport)

Abstract
In this report we present new algorithms for non-negative matrix approximation (NMA), commonly known as the NMF problem. Our methods improve upon the well-known methods of Lee & Seung [19] for both the Frobenius norm as well the Kullback-Leibler divergence versions of the problem. For the latter problem, our results are especially interesting because it seems to have witnessed much lesser algorithmic progress as compared to the Frobenius norm NMA problem. Our algorithms are based on a particular block-iterative acceleration technique for EM, which preserves the multiplicative nature of the updates and also ensures monotonicity. Furthermore, our algorithms also naturally apply to the Bregman-divergence NMA algorithms of Dhillon and Sra [8]. Experimentally, we show that our algorithms outperform the traditional Lee/Seung approach most of the time.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Approximation Algorithms for Bregman Clustering Co-clustering and Tensor Clustering

Sra, S., Jegelka, S., Banerjee, A.

(177), Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, September 2008 (techreport)

Abstract
The Euclidean K-means problem is fundamental to clustering and over the years it has been intensely investigated. More recently, generalizations such as Bregman k-means [8], co-clustering [10], and tensor (multi-way) clustering [40] have also gained prominence. A well-known computational difficulty encountered by these clustering problems is the NP-Hardness of the associated optimization task, and commonly used methods guarantee at most local optimality. Consequently, approximation algorithms of varying degrees of sophistication have been developed, though largely for the basic Euclidean K-means (or `1-norm K-median) problem. In this paper we present approximation algorithms for several Bregman clustering problems by building upon the recent paper of Arthur and Vassilvitskii [5]. Our algorithms obtain objective values within a factor O(logK) for Bregman k-means, Bregman co-clustering, Bregman tensor clustering, and weighted kernel k-means. To our knowledge, except for some special cases, approximation algorithms have not been considered for these general clustering problems. There are several important implications of our work: (i) under the same assumptions as Ackermann et al. [1] it yields a much faster algorithm (non-exponential in K, unlike [1]) for information-theoretic clustering, (ii) it answers several open problems posed by [4], including generalizations to Bregman co-clustering, and tensor clustering, (iii) it provides practical and easy to implement methods—in contrast to several other common approximation approaches.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Reinforcement Learning for Motor Primitives

Kober, J.

Biologische Kybernetik, University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany, August 2008 (diplomathesis)

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Combining Appearance and Motion for Human Action Classification in Videos

Dhillon, P., Nowozin, S., Lampert, C.

(174), Max-Planck-Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, August 2008 (techreport)

Abstract
We study the question of activity classification in videos and present a novel approach for recognizing human action categories in videos by combining information from appearance and motion of human body parts. Our approach uses a tracking step which involves Particle Filtering and a local non - parametric clustering step. The motion information is provided by the trajectory of the cluster modes of a local set of particles. The statistical information about the particles of that cluster over a number of frames provides the appearance information. Later we use a “Bag ofWords” model to build one histogram per video sequence from the set of these robust appearance and motion descriptors. These histograms provide us characteristic information which helps us to discriminate among various human actions and thus classify them correctly. We tested our approach on the standard KTH and Weizmann human action datasets and the results were comparable to the state of the art. Additionally our approach is able to distinguish between activities that involve the motion of complete body from those in which only certain body parts move. In other words, our method discriminates well between activities with “gross motion” like running, jogging etc. and “local motion” like waving, boxing etc.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]