Friday, May 25, 2012

Microsoft Released Face Tracking SDK in Kinect for Windows

The Microsoft's revolutionary hardware, the Microsoft Kinect, is getting a new piece of brain. Microsoft just released Face Tracking SDK in Kinect For Windows. It can be used for 3D face tracking. It supports most facial types and works in real-time.

You can use the Face Tracking SDK in your program if you install Kinect for Windows Developer Toolkit 1.5. You need to have Kinect camera attached to your PC. The face tracking engine tracks at the speed of 4-8 ms per frame depending on how powerful your PC is.

Take a look at the following demo which shows its facial tracking capabilities, range of supported motions, real-time tracking speed and robustness to occlusions.

Here are several things that will affect tracking accuracy, provided by Nikolai Smolynskiy.

1) Light – a face should be well lit without too many harsh shadows on it. Bright backlight or sidelight may make tracking worse.

2) Distance to the Kinect camera – the closer you are to the camera the better it will track. The tracking quality is best when you are closer than 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) to the camera. At closer range Kinect’s depth data is more precise and so the face tracking engine can compute face 3D points more accurately.

3) Occlusions – if you have thick glasses or Lincoln like beard, you may have issues with the face tracking. This is still an open area for improvement. Face color is NOT an issue.

The Face Tracking SDK is based on the Active Apperance Model (See Wikipedia explanation for AAM). It also utilizes Kinect’s depth data, so it can track faces/heads in 3D. More technical publications You can be found in the following publications:

  • Iain Matthews and Simon Baker, "Active Appearance Models Revisited," International Journal of Computer Vision, Vol. 60, No. 2, November, 2004, pp. 135 - 164. pdf
  • Zhou, M., Liang, L., J. S. & Wang, Y. "AAM based face tracking with temporal matching and face segmentation,"IEEE CVPR, 2010, 701-708. pdf

To download the SDK visit here.

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