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A novel technique to detect and localize periodic movements in video is presented. The distinctive feature of the technique is that it requires neither feature tracking nor object segmentation. Intensity patterns along linear sample paths in space-time are used in estimation of period of object motion in a given sequence of frames. Sample paths are obtained by connecting (in space-time) sample points from regions of high motion magnitude in the first and last frames. Oscillations in intensity values are induced at time instants when an object intersects the sample path. The locations of peaks in intensity are determined by parameters of both cyclic object motion and orientation of the sample path with respect to object motion. The information about peaks is used in a least squares framework to obtain an initial estimate of these parameters. The estimate is further refined using the full intensity profile. The best estimate for the period of cyclic object motion is obtained by looking for consensus among estimates from many sample paths. The proposed technique is evaluated with synthetic videos where ground-truth is known, and with American Sign Language videos where the goal is to detect periodic hand motions.