International Journal of Computer Vision

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 5-28

First online:

CONDENSATION—Conditional Density Propagation for Visual Tracking

  • Michael IsardAffiliated withDepartment of Engineering Science, University of Oxford
  • , Andrew BlakeAffiliated withDepartment of Engineering Science, University of Oxford

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The problem of tracking curves in dense visual clutter is challenging. Kalman filtering is inadequate because it is based on Gaussian densities which, being unimo dal, cannot represent simultaneous alternative hypotheses. The Condensation algorithm uses “factored sampling”, previously applied to the interpretation of static images, in which the probability distribution of possible interpretations is represented by a randomly generated set. Condensation uses learned dynamical models, together with visual observations, to propagate the random set over time. The result is highly robust tracking of agile motion. Notwithstanding the use of stochastic methods, the algorithm runs in near real-time.