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The estimation of head pose angle from face images is an integral component of face recognition systems, human computer interfaces and other human-centered computing applications. To determine the head pose, face images with varying pose angles can be considered to be lying on a smooth low-dimensional manifold in high-dimensional feature space. While manifold learning techniques capture the geometrical relationship between data points in the high-dimensional image feature space, the pose label information of the training data samples are neglected in the computation of these embeddings. In this paper, we propose a novel supervised approach to manifold-based non-linear dimensionality reduction for head pose estimation. The Biased Manifold Embedding (BME) framework is pivoted on the ideology of using the pose angle information of the face images to compute a biased neighborhood of each point in the feature space, before determining the low-dimensional embedding. The proposed BME approach is formulated as an extensible framework, and validated with the Isomap, Locally Linear Embedding (LLE) and Laplacian Eigen-maps techniques. A Generalized Regression Neural Network (GRNN) is used to learn the non-linear mapping, and linear multi-variate regression is finally applied on the low-dimensional space to obtain the pose angle. We tested this approach on face images of 24 individuals with pose angles varying from -90deg to +90deg with a granularity of 2. The results showed substantial reduction in the error of pose angle estimation, and robustness to variations in feature spaces, dimensionality of embedding and other parameters.
Date of Conference: 17-22 June 2007