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Human Face Tracking

Our basic idea to overcome the problem of temporarily distorted or occluded features is to have individual search windows help each other to track their features. Since the geometric relationship between the features in a face is known a lost search window can be relocated by assistance from those that are still tracking. In a first approach a two dimensional model of the face is used where the features are placed on a virtual grid. During face tracking the search windows can monitor their relative position to the other windows and readjust their coordinates if necessary. The figure shows the face of a person where the boxes mark the 9 features that are used for tracking. The lines indicate the connections between the search windows.

Feature connections

The robustness of the tracker heavily depends on the method used to fuse the tracking results of the vision system with the geometric data derived from the 2D face model. In difficult situations, when the head is turned and all the templates match with high distortions, it is not possible to determine whether or not a feature has been lost based on the distortion reported by the vision system. Thus, a probabilistic approach must be chosen to merge the uncertain tracking data with the information derived from the 2D facial model. We believe that Kalman filters are an appropriate method to cope with this problem.
The following pictures show results from the face tracking. The estimated positions of the features is marked with small white crosses.

looking straight looking up
looking left asleep

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Feedback & Queries: Jochen Heinzmann
Date Last Modified: Thursday, 24th Oct 1997