How to "hear" visual disparities: real-time stereoscopic spatial depth analysis using temporal resonance.

Porr, B. and Wörgötter, F.

Biol Cybern. 1998 May;78(5):329-36

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In a stereoscopic system both eyes or cameras have a slightly different view. As a consequence small variations between the projected images exist ("disparities") which are spatially evaluated in order to retrieve depth information [Sanger, 1988,Fleet et al., 1991]. A strong similarity exists between the analysis of visual disparities and the determination of the azimuth of a sound source [Wagner and Frost, 1993]. The direction of the sound is thereby determined from the temporal delay between the left and right ear signals [Konishi and Sullivan, 1986]. Similarly, here we transpose the spatially defined problem of disparity analysis into the temporal domain and utilize two resonators implemented in the form of causal (electronic) filters to determine the disparity as local temporal phase differences between the left and right filter responses. This approach permits real-time analysis and can be solved analytically for step function contrast changes, which is an important case in all real-world applications. The proposed theoretical framework for spatial depth retrieval directly utilizes a temporal algorithm borrowed from auditory signal analysis. Thus, the suggested similarity between the visual and the auditory system in the brain [Wagner and Frost, 1993] finds its analogy here at the algorithmical level. We will compare the results from the temporal resonance algorithm with those obtained from several other techniques like cross-correlation or spatial phase-based disparity estimation showing that the novel algorithm achieves performances similar to the "classical" approaches using much less computational resources.

Bernd Porr
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