An Integrated Vision Sensor for the Computation of Optical Flow Singular Points

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 11 (NIPS 1998)

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Charles Higgins, Christof Koch


A robust, integrative algorithm is presented for computing the position of the focus of expansion or axis of rotation (the singular point) in optical flow fields such as those generated by self-motion. Measurements are shown of a fully parallel CMOS analog VLSI motion sensor array which computes the direction of local motion (sign of optical flow) at each pixel and can directly implement this algorithm. The flow field singular point is computed in real time with a power consumption of less than 2 m W. Computation of the singular point for more general flow fields requires measures of field expansion and rotation, which it is shown can also be computed in real-time hardware, again using only the sign of the optical flow field. These measures, along with the location of the singular point, provide robust real-time self-motion information for the visual guidance of a moving platform such as a robot.