Interactive live-wire boundary extraction Interactive live-wire boundary extraction
Paper summary Edge, contour or boundary detection in 2D images have been an area of active research, with a variety of different algorithms. However due to a wide variety of image types and content, developing automatic segmentation algorithms have been challenging, while manual segmentation is tedious and time consuming. Previous algorithms approaching this task have tried to incorporate higher level constraints, energy functional (snakes), global properties (graph based). However the approaches still do not entirely fulfill the fully automated criteria due to a variety of reasons. To this end, Barrett et al. propose a graph-based boundary extraction algorithm called Interactive Live-Wire, which is an extension to the original live-wire algorithm presented in Mortensen et al. [1]. The algorithm is built upon a reformulation of the segmentation approach into graphs, particularly, an image $I$ is converted to an undirected graph with edges from a pixel $p$ to all it's neighbouring 8-connected pixels. Each pixel or node is assigned a local cost according to a function (described later). The segmentation task then becomes a problem where there needs to be a shortest path from a pixel $p$ (seed) to another pixel $q$ (free goal point), where the cumulative cost of path is minimum. The local cost function is defined as: $l(p,q) = w_G.f_G(q) + w_Z.f_Z(q) + w_D.f_D(p,q)$ where $w_i, i = {G, Z, D}$ are weight coefficients controlling relative importance of the terms. The three terms that make up the local cost function are gradient magnitude ($f_G(q)$), Laplacian Zero-Crossing feature ($f_Z(q)$), and Gradient Direction feature ($f_D(p,q)$). The first term $f_G(q)$ defines a strong measure of edge strength, and is heavily weighted. The term $f_Z(q)$ provides a second degree measure for edge strength in the form of zero-crossing information. The third term $f_D(p,q)$ adds a smoothness constraint to the live-wire boundary by adding high cost for rapidly changing gradient directions. The algorithm also exhibits some other features, namely boundary freezing, on-the-fly learning and data-driven cooling. Boundary freezing proves useful when Live-wire segmentation digresses from the desired object boundary during interactive mode. The boundary can be "frozen" right before the digression point by specifying another seed point, until which the boundary is frozen and not allowed to be changed. On-the-fly learning provides robustness to the method by learning the underlying cost distribution of a known "good" boundary, and using that to guide the live-wire further to follow similar distribution. Data-driven path cooling allows the live-wire to generate new seed points automatically as a function of image data and path properties. Pixels on "stable" paths will cool down and eventually freeze, producing new seed points. The results report that average times taken for segmenting a region using Live-Wire was roughly 4.6 times less than manual human tracing time. Live-Wire provided same amount of accuracy as manual tracing would in a fraction of time, with high reproducibility. However, the method does not provide a way to ``snap out" of an \textit{automatically} frozen live-wire segmentation. On-the-fly training can fail at instances where the edges of the object change too fast, and not much implementation related information is provided, especially for freezing and training parts.
Interactive live-wire boundary extraction
Barrett, William A. and Mortensen, Eric N.
Medical Image Analysis - 1997 via Local Bibsonomy
Keywords: dblp

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