Edge extraction by active defocusing

Q. M. Zhu, Y. Y. Hung, S. H. Tang, D. H. Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A novel edge extraction method that employs an active defocusing technique is presented. The method is based on the principle that a Laplacian-of-Gaussian (LOG) operation can be approximated by a Difference-of-Gaussian (DOG) operation. While such an operation is usually done in digital image processing, it can also be very effective conducted in a combination of optical techniques and digital processing. In this edge extraction method, a focused image of an object in a scene is first acquired. The image of the scene is then slightly defocused by changing the focal length of the camera. A real time subtraction operation is applied to subtract the defocused image from the previously acquired image. It produces a residual image that emphasizes abrupt intensity variations. An objective evaluation, called an edge index, is performed on the resulting image. The amount of defocusing is carefully adjusted according to this measurement so that a desired edge image is generated. Boundaries of objects can then be obtained by further enhancement of the edge image. Since this edge detection method is an optical-based process aided by digital processing, it is fast and relatively inexpensive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-267
Number of pages15
JournalSpatial Vision
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


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