Generalizing Spatial Transformers to Projective Geometry with Applications to 2D/3D Registration

Differentiable rendering is a technique to connect 3D scenes with corresponding 2D images. Since it is differentiable, processes during image formation can be learned. Previous approaches to differentiable rendering focus on mesh-based representations of 3D scenes, which is inappropriate for medical applications where volumetric, voxelized models are used to represent anatomy. We propose a novel Projective Spatial Transformer module that generalizes spatial transformers to projective geometry, thus enabling differentiable volume rendering. We demonstrate the usefulness of this architecture on the example of 2D/3D registration between radiographs and CT scans. Specifically, we show that our transformer enables end-to-end learning of an image processing and projection model that approximates an image similarity function that is convex with respect to the pose parameters, and can thus be optimized effectively using conventional gradient descent. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that spatial transformers have been described for projective geometry. The source code will be made public upon publication of this manuscript and we hope that our developments will benefit related 3D research applications.

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