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2D and 3D computer vision analysis of gaze, gender and age

Zhang, Wenhao

2D and 3D computer vision analysis of gaze, gender and age Thumbnail


Wenhao Zhang


Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) has been an active research area for over four decades. Research studies and commercial designs in this area have been largely facilitated by the visual modality which brings diversified functionality and improved usability to HCI interfaces by employing various computer vision techniques. This thesis explores a number of facial cues, such as gender, age and gaze, by performing 2D and 3D based computer vision analysis. The ultimate aim is to create a natural HCI strategy that can fulfil user expectations, augment user satisfaction and enrich user experience by understanding user characteristics and behaviours. To this end, salient features have been extracted and analysed from 2D and 3D face representations; 3D reconstruction algorithms and their compatible real-world imaging systems have been investigated; case study HCI systems have been designed to demonstrate the reliability, robustness, and applicability of the proposed method.

More specifically, an unsupervised approach has been proposed to localise eye centres in images and videos accurately and efficiently. This is achieved by utilisation of two types of geometric features and eye models, complemented by an iris radius constraint and a selective oriented gradient filter specifically tailored to this modular scheme. This approach resolves challenges such as interfering facial edges, undesirable illumination conditions, head poses, and the presence of facial accessories and makeup. Tested on 3 publicly available databases (the BioID database, the GI4E database and the extended Yale Face Database b), and a self-collected database, this method outperforms all the methods in comparison and thus proves to be highly accurate and robust. Based on this approach, a gaze gesture recognition algorithm has been designed to increase the interactivity of HCI systems by encoding eye saccades into a communication channel similar to the role of hand gestures. As well as analysing eye/gaze data that represent user behaviours and reveal user intentions, this thesis also investigates the automatic recognition of user demographics such as gender and age. The Fisher Vector encoding algorithm is employed to construct visual vocabularies as salient features for gender and age classification. Algorithm evaluations on three publicly available databases (the FERET database, the LFW database and the FRCVv2 database) demonstrate the superior performance of the proposed method in both laboratory and unconstrained environments. In order to achieve enhanced robustness, a two-source photometric stereo method has been introduced to recover surface normals such that more invariant 3D facia features become available that can further boost classification accuracy and robustness. A 2D+3D imaging system has been designed for construction of a self-collected dataset including 2D and 3D facial data. Experiments show that utilisation of 3D facial features can increase gender classification rate by up to 6% (based on the self-collected dataset), and can increase age classification rate by up to 12% (based on the Photoface database). Finally, two case study HCI systems, a gaze gesture based map browser and a directed advertising billboard, have been designed by adopting all the proposed algorithms as well as the fully compatible imaging system. Benefits from the proposed algorithms naturally ensure that the case study systems can possess high robustness to head pose variation and illumination variation; and can achieve excellent real-time performance. Overall, the proposed HCI strategy enabled by reliably recognised facial cues can serve to spawn a wide array of innovative systems and to bring HCI to a more natural and intelligent state.


Zhang, W. (in press). 2D and 3D computer vision analysis of gaze, gender and age. (Thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Acceptance Date Dec 21, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jun 5, 2019
Keywords human-computer interaction, eye centre localisation, gaze gesture, gender recognition, age recognition, directed advertising, 3D imaging
Public URL
Award Date Jul 28, 2016


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