3D endoscopic depth estimation using 3D surface-aware constraints

Robotic-assisted surgery allows surgeons to conduct precise surgical operations with stereo vision and flexible motor control. However, the lack of 3D spatial perception limits situational awareness during procedures and hinders mastering surgical skills in the narrow abdominal space. Depth estimation, as a representative perception task, is typically defined as an image reconstruction problem. In this work, we show that depth estimation can be reformed from a 3D surface perspective. We propose a loss function for depth estimation that integrates the surface-aware constraints, leading to a faster and better convergence with the valid information from spatial information. In addition, camera parameters are incorporated into the training pipeline to increase the control and transparency of the depth estimation. We also integrate a specularity removal module to recover more buried image information. Quantitative experimental results on endoscopic datasets and user studies with medical professionals demonstrate the effectiveness of our method.

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