Convolutional encoder–decoder networks for pixel-wise ear detection and segmentation

Convolutional encoder–decoder networks for pixel-wise ear detection and segmentation

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Object detection and segmentation represents the basis for many tasks in computer and machine vision. In biometric recognition systems the detection of the region-of-interest (ROI) is one of the most crucial steps in the processing pipeline, significantly impacting the performance of the entire recognition system. Existing approaches to ear detection, are commonly susceptible to the presence of severe occlusions, ear accessories or variable illumination conditions and often deteriorate in their performance if applied on ear images captured in unconstrained settings. To address these shortcomings, we present a novel ear detection technique based on convolutional encoder-decoder networks (CEDs). We formulate the problem of ear detection as a two-class segmentation problem and design and train a CED-network architecture to distinguish between image-pixels belonging to the ear and the non-ear class. Unlike competing techniques, our approach does not simply return a bounding box around the detected ear, but provides detailed, pixel-wise information about the location of the ears in the image. Experiments on a dataset gathered from the web (a.k.a. in the wild) show that the proposed technique ensures good detection results in the presence of various covariate factors and significantly outperforms competing methods from the literature.

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