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This paper describes a computer vision system for the automatic extraction and velocity measurement of moving leukocytes that adhere to microvessel walls from a sequence of images. The motion of these leukocytes can be visualized as motion along the wall contours. The authors use the constraint that the leukocytes move along the vessel wall contours to generate a spatiotemporal image, and the leukocyte motion is then extracted using the methods of spatiotemporal image analysis. The generated spatiotemporal image is processed by a special-purpose orientation-selective filter and a subsequent grouping process newly developed for this application. The orientation-selective filter is designed by considering the particular properties of the spatiotemporal image in this application in order to enhance only the traces of leukocytes. In the subsequent grouping process, leukocyte trace segments are selected and grouped among all the segments obtained by simple thresholding and skeletonizing operations. The authors show experimentally that the proposed method can stably extract leukocyte motion.
Date of Publication: April 1997