Computer Vision and Computational Neuroscience Laboratory

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active vision

[cortex 2] Active vision refers to a camera system which is actuated. This is an optional strategy for conventional computer vision, since the engineering problems associated with acutation are generally not worth the trouble. However, for space-variant systems, actuation is not optional: the existence of a dedicated high resolution (foveal) regions in the sensor is pointless without the ability to control the direction of view of the camera.
All higher vertebrate vision systems use space-variant active vision (SVAV). At the present time, few computer visions have made this transition. One reason is that active vision requires solution of a much wider range of engineering and algorithmic problems than conventional space-invariant passive vision systems (SIPV's).
[mini camera in nut shell] For example, miniatured video cameras are desirable to exploit the inherent size and power savings provided by active vision.
[SPM with zoom lens] Continuing in this thread, it has historically been a difficult and largely unsolved problem to provide high speed, high accuracy camera actuation in a small, power efficient package, although one solution has been designed and constructed, the spherical pointing motor, which is capable of saccades at 1500 deg/sec with 10 arc minute accuracy and target acquisition and smooth tracking. The design of attentional algorithms, which are required to "point" the camera, is largely unsolved.
[foveal CMOS VLSI sensor] Several other technical obstacles are the general difficulty of providing space-variant image sensors, and development of algorithms for early vision and classification that function in a space-variant environment.
[space-variant wild kingdom] The transition from SIPV to SVAV occured with the rise of the higher vertebrates roughly 200 million years ago. It is expected that a similar transition will finally occur in computer vision within the next few decades.


department of cognitive and neural systems
boston university

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