Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Computer vision


Precision medicine approaches rely on obtaining precise knowledge of the true state of health of an individual patient, which results from a combination of their genetic risks and environmental exposures. This approach is currently limited by the lack of effective and efficient non-invasive medical tests to define the full range of phenotypic variation associated with individual health. Such knowledge is critical for improved early intervention, for better treatment decisions, and for ameliorating the steadily worsening epidemic of chronic disease. We present proof-of-concept experiments to demonstrate how routinely acquired cross-sectional CT imaging may be used to predict patient longevity as a proxy for overall individual health and disease status using computer image analysis techniques. Despite the limitations of a modest dataset and the use of off-the-shelf machine learning methods, our results are comparable to previous ‘manual’ clinical methods for longevity prediction. This work demonstrates that radiomics techniques can be used to extract biomarkers relevant to one of the most widely used outcomes in epidemiological and clinical research - mortality, and that deep learning with convolutional neural networks can be usefully applied to radiomics research. Computer image analysis applied to routinely collected medical images offers substantial potential to enhance precision medicine initiatives.

Concepts: Prediction, Disease, Learning, Computer vision, Infectious disease, Scientific method, Epidemiology, Medicine


Computer vision-based assistive technology solutions can revolutionise the quality of care for people with sensorimotor disorders. The goal of this work was to enable trans-radial amputees to use a simple, yet efficient, computer vision system to grasp and move common household objects with a two-channel myoelectric prosthetic hand.

Concepts: Implants, Assistive technology, Hand, Prosthetics, Artificial intelligence, Computer vision, Artificial limb, Prosthesis


The Canny edge detector is one of the most widely used edge detection algorithms due to its superior performance. Unfortunately, not only is it computationally more intensive as compared with other edge detection algorithms, but it also has a higher latency because it is based on frame-level statistics. In this paper, we propose a mechanism to implement the Canny algorithm at the block level without any loss in edge detection performance compared with the original frame-level Canny algorithm. Directly applying the original Canny algorithm at the block-level leads to excessive edges in smooth regions and to loss of significant edges in high-detailed regions since the original Canny computes the high and low thresholds based on the frame-level statistics. To solve this problem, we present a distributed Canny edge detection algorithm that adaptively computes the edge detection thresholds based on the block type and the local distribution of the gradients in the image block. In addition, the new algorithm uses a nonuniform gradient magnitude histogram to compute block-based hysteresis thresholds. The resulting block-based algorithm has a significantly reduced latency and can be easily integrated with other block-based image codecs. It is capable of supporting fast edge detection of images and videos with high resolutions, including full-HD since the latency is now a function of the block size instead of the frame size. In addition, quantitative conformance evaluations and subjective tests show that the edge detection performance of the proposed algorithm is better than the original frame-based algorithm, especially when noise is present in the images. Finally, this algorithm is implemented using a 32 computing engine architecture and is synthesized on the Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA. The synthesized architecture takes only 0.721 ms (including the SRAM READ/WRITE time and the computation time) to detect edges of 512 × 512 images in the USC SIPI database when clocked at 100 MHz and is faster than existing FPGA and GPU implementations.

Concepts: Computer science, Graph theory, Image processing, Computer vision, Feature detection, Computer, Canny edge detector, Edge detection


The use of machine learning (ML) has been increasing rapidly in the medical imaging field, including computer-aided diagnosis (CAD), radiomics, and medical image analysis. Recently, an ML area called deep learning emerged in the computer vision field and became very popular in many fields. It started from an event in late 2012, when a deep-learning approach based on a convolutional neural network (CNN) won an overwhelming victory in the best-known worldwide computer vision competition, ImageNet Classification. Since then, researchers in virtually all fields, including medical imaging, have started actively participating in the explosively growing field of deep learning. In this paper, the area of deep learning in medical imaging is overviewed, including (1) what was changed in machine learning before and after the introduction of deep learning, (2) what is the source of the power of deep learning, (3) two major deep-learning models: a massive-training artificial neural network (MTANN) and a convolutional neural network (CNN), (4) similarities and differences between the two models, and (5) their applications to medical imaging. This review shows that ML with feature input (or feature-based ML) was dominant before the introduction of deep learning, and that the major and essential difference between ML before and after deep learning is the learning of image data directly without object segmentation or feature extraction; thus, it is the source of the power of deep learning, although the depth of the model is an important attribute. The class of ML with image input (or image-based ML) including deep learning has a long history, but recently gained popularity due to the use of the new terminology, deep learning. There are two major models in this class of ML in medical imaging, MTANN and CNN, which have similarities as well as several differences. In our experience, MTANNs were substantially more efficient in their development, had a higher performance, and required a lesser number of training cases than did CNNs. “Deep learning”, or ML with image input, in medical imaging is an explosively growing, promising field. It is expected that ML with image input will be the mainstream area in the field of medical imaging in the next few decades.

Concepts: Medicine, Artificial neural network, Computer vision, Medical imaging, Image processing, Artificial intelligence, Pattern recognition, Machine learning


In this article, we offer an artificial intelligence method to estimate the carotid-femoral Pulse Wave Velocity (PWV) non-invasively from one uncalibrated carotid waveform measured by tonometry and few routine clinical variables. Since the signal processing inputs to this machine learning algorithm are sensor agnostic, the presented method can accompany any medical instrument that provides a calibrated or uncalibrated carotid pressure waveform. Our results show that, for an unseen hold back test set population in the age range of 20 to 69, our model can estimate PWV with a Root-Mean-Square Error (RMSE) of 1.12 m/sec compared to the reference method. The results convey the fact that this model is a reliable surrogate of PWV. Our study also showed that estimated PWV was significantly associated with an increased risk of CVDs.

Concepts: Scientific method, Computer vision, Bayesian network, Cybernetics, Artificial neural network, Artificial intelligence, Learning, Machine learning


Deep learning methods are currently outperforming traditional state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms in diverse applications and recently even surpassed human performance in object recognition. Here we demonstrate the potential of deep learning methods to high-content screening-based phenotype classification. We trained a deep learning classifier in the form of convolutional neural networks with approximately 40,000 publicly available single-cell images from samples treated with compounds from four classes known to lead to different phenotypes. The input data consisted of multichannel images. The construction of appropriate feature definitions was part of the training and carried out by the convolutional network, without the need for expert knowledge or handcrafted features. We compare our results against the recent state-of-the-art pipeline in which predefined features are extracted from each cell using specialized software and then fed into various machine learning algorithms (support vector machine, Fisher linear discriminant, random forest) for classification. The performance of all classification approaches is evaluated on an untouched test image set with known phenotype classes. Compared to the best reference machine learning algorithm, the misclassification rate is reduced from 8.9% to 6.6%.

Concepts: Computer vision, Artificial neural network, Algorithm, Learning, Artificial intelligence, Statistical classification, Machine learning


Systems for collecting image data in conjunction with computer vision techniques are a powerful tool for increasing the temporal resolution at which plant phenotypes can be measured non-destructively. Computational tools that are flexible and extendable are needed to address the diversity of plant phenotyping problems. We previously described the Plant Computer Vision (PlantCV) software package, which is an image processing toolkit for plant phenotyping analysis. The goal of the PlantCV project is to develop a set of modular, reusable, and repurposable tools for plant image analysis that are open-source and community-developed. Here we present the details and rationale for major developments in the second major release of PlantCV. In addition to overall improvements in the organization of the PlantCV project, new functionality includes a set of new image processing and normalization tools, support for analyzing images that include multiple plants, leaf segmentation, landmark identification tools for morphometrics, and modules for machine learning.

Concepts: Computer program, Logic, Bioinformatics, Operating system, Machine learning, Artificial intelligence, Image processing, Computer vision


Collections of biological specimens are fundamental to scientific understanding and characterization of natural diversity-past, present and future. This paper presents a system for liberating useful information from physical collections by bringing specimens into the digital domain so they can be more readily shared, analyzed, annotated and compared. It focuses on insects and is strongly motivated by the desire to accelerate and augment current practices in insect taxonomy which predominantly use text, 2D diagrams and images to describe and characterize species. While these traditional kinds of descriptions are informative and useful, they cannot cover insect specimens “from all angles” and precious specimens are still exchanged between researchers and collections for this reason. Furthermore, insects can be complex in structure and pose many challenges to computer vision systems. We present a new prototype for a practical, cost-effective system of off-the-shelf components to acquire natural-colour 3D models of insects from around 3 mm to 30 mm in length. (“Natural-colour” is used to contrast with “false-colour”, i.e., colour generated from, or applied to, gray-scale data post-acquisition.) Colour images are captured from different angles and focal depths using a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera rig and two-axis turntable. These 2D images are processed into 3D reconstructions using software based on a visual hull algorithm. The resulting models are compact (around 10 megabytes), afford excellent optical resolution, and can be readily embedded into documents and web pages, as well as viewed on mobile devices. The system is portable, safe, relatively affordable, and complements the sort of volumetric data that can be acquired by computed tomography. This system provides a new way to augment the description and documentation of insect species holotypes, reducing the need to handle or ship specimens. It opens up new opportunities to collect data for research, education, art, entertainment, biodiversity assessment and biosecurity control.

Concepts: Twin-lens reflex camera, Computer, Machine vision, Insect, Computer graphics, Computer vision, Single-lens reflex camera, Digital single-lens reflex camera


Sparse representation of information provides a powerful means to perform feature extraction on high-dimensional data and is of broad interest for applications in signal processing, computer vision, object recognition and neurobiology. Sparse coding is also believed to be a key mechanism by which biological neural systems can efficiently process a large amount of complex sensory data while consuming very little power. Here, we report the experimental implementation of sparse coding algorithms in a bio-inspired approach using a 32 × 32 crossbar array of analog memristors. This network enables efficient implementation of pattern matching and lateral neuron inhibition and allows input data to be sparsely encoded using neuron activities and stored dictionary elements. Different dictionary sets can be trained and stored in the same system, depending on the nature of the input signals. Using the sparse coding algorithm, we also perform natural image processing based on a learned dictionary.

Concepts: Nervous system, Computer vision, Crossbar latch, Signal processing, Image processing, Computer, Memristor, Machine learning


Imaging flow cytometry (IFC) enables the high throughput collection of morphological and spatial information from hundreds of thousands of single cells. This high content, information rich image data can in theory resolve important biological differences among complex, often heterogeneous biological samples. However, data analysis is often performed in a highly manual and subjective manner using very limited image analysis techniques in combination with conventional flow cytometry gating strategies. This approach is not scalable to the hundreds of available image-based features per cell and thus makes use of only a fraction of the spatial and morphometric information. As a result, the quality, reproducibility and rigour of results are limited by the skill, experience and ingenuity of the data analyst. Here, we describe a pipeline using open-source software that leverages the rich information in digital imagery using machine learning algorithms. Compensated and corrected raw image files (.rif) data files from an imaging flow cytometer (the proprietary .cif file format) are imported into the open-source software CellProfiler, where an image processing pipeline identifies cells and subcellular compartments allowing hundreds of morphological features to be measured. This high-dimensional data can then be analysed using cutting-edge machine learning and clustering approaches using “user-friendly” platforms such as CellProfiler Analyst. Researchers can train an automated cell classifier to recognize different cell types, cell cycle phases, drug treatment/control conditions, etc., using supervised machine learning. This workflow should enable the scientific community to leverage the full analytical power of IFC-derived data set. It will help to reveal otherwise unappreciated populations of cells based on features that may be hidden to the human eye that include subtle measured differences in label free detection channels such as bright-field and dark-field imagery.

Concepts: Data, Computer vision, Supervised learning, Data analysis, Machine learning, Cell biology, Flow cytometry, Scientific method