Real-time, low-cost multi-person 3D pose estimation

The process of tracking human anatomy in computer vision is referred to pose estimation, and it is used in fields ranging from gaming to surveillance. Three-dimensional pose estimation traditionally requires advanced equipment, such as multiple linked intensity cameras or high-resolution time-of-flight cameras to produce depth images... However, there are applications, e.g.~consumer electronics, where significant constraints are placed on the size, power consumption, weight and cost of the usable technology. Here, we demonstrate that computational imaging methods can achieve accurate pose estimation and overcome the apparent limitations of time-of-flight sensors designed for much simpler tasks. The sensor we use is already widely integrated in consumer-grade mobile devices, and despite its low spatial resolution, only 4$\times$4 pixels, our proposed Pixels2Pose system transforms its data into accurate depth maps and 3D pose data of multiple people up to a distance of 3 m from the sensor. We are able to generate depth maps at a resolution of 32$\times$32 and 3D localization of a body parts with an error of only $\approx$10 cm at a frame rate of 7 fps. This work opens up promising real-life applications in scenarios that were previously restricted by the advanced hardware requirements and cost of time-of-flight technology. read more

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