Unsupervised Eye Pupil Localization through Differential Geometry and Local Self-Similarity Matching

Year: 2014

Authors: Leo M., Cazzato D., De Marco T., Distante C.

Autors Affiliation: National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Optics, Arnesano, Lecce, Italy; Faculty of Engineering, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy

Abstract: The automatic detection and tracking of human eyes and, in particular, the precise localization of their centers (pupils), is a widely debated topic in the international scientific community. In fact, the extracted information can be effectively used in a large number of applications ranging from advanced interfaces to biometrics and including also the estimation of the gaze direction, the control of human attention and the early screening of neurological pathologies. Independently of the application domain, the detection and tracking of the eye centers are, currently, performed mainly using invasive devices. Cheaper and more versatile systems have been only recently introduced: they make use of image processing techniques working on periocular patches which can be specifically acquired or preliminarily cropped from facial images. In the latter cases the involved algorithms must work even in cases of non-ideal acquiring conditions (e.g in presence of noise, low spatial resolution, non-uniform lighting conditions, etc.) and without user’s awareness (thus with possible variations of the eye in scale, rotation and/or translation). Getting satisfying results in pupils’ localization in such a challenging operating conditions is still an open scientific topic in Computer Vision. Actually, the most performing solutions in the literature are, unfortunately, based on supervised machine learning algorithms which require initial sessions to set the working parameters and to train the embedded learning models of the eye: this way, experienced operators have to work on the system each time it is moved from an operational context to another. It follows that the use of unsupervised approaches is more and more desirable but, unfortunately, their performances are not still satisfactory and more investigations are required. To this end, this paper proposes a new unsupervised approach to automatically detect the center of the eye: its algorithmic core is a representation of the eye’s shape that is obtained through a differential analysis of image intensities and the subsequent combination with the local variability of the appearance represented by self-similarity coefficients. The experimental evidence of the effectiveness of the method was demonstrated on challenging databases containing facial images. Moreover, its capabilities to accurately detect the centers of the eyes were also favourably compared with those of the leading state-of-the-art methods.

Journal/Review: PLOS ONE

Volume: 9 (8)      Pages from: 1  to: 12

KeyWords: pupil detection; eye tracking; isophotes
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102829

Citations: 39
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