Epipolar-plane image analysis: An approach to determining structure from motion

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Abstract

We present a technique for building a three-dimensional description of a static scene from a dense sequence of images. These images are taken in such rapid succession that they form a solid block of data in which the temporal continuity from image to image is approximately equal to the spatial continuity in an individual image. The technique utilizes knowledge of the camera motion to form and analyze slices of this solid. These slices directly encode not only the three-dimensional positions of objects, but also such spatiotemporal events as the occlusion of one object by another. For straight-line camera motions, these slices have a simple linear structure that makes them easier to analyze. The analysis computes the three-dimensional positions of object features, marks occlusion boundaries on the objects, and builds a three-dimensional map of “free space.” In our article, we first describe the application of this technique to a simple camera motion, and then show how projective duality is used to extend the analysis to a wider class of camera motions and object types that include curved and moving objects.

This research was supported by DARPA contracts MDA 903-83-C-0027 and DACA 76-85-C-0004.