Search technique for images recognises visual patterns

March 16, 2005

Dutch researcher Mirela Tanase has developed a new technique for finding images using search engines. Her technique is based on how the human eye recognises objects. It can increase the success rate of certain search operations for objects from 10 to 70 percent.

Tanase developed two methods for decomposing objects into parts, which are then used to search for similar objects. The first method decomposes the interior of the shape. Humans find this task easy, but a computer often has problems working out how it should decompose an object. The second method works on a range of skeletons and decomposes the contour instead of the interior. Branching points in the skeleton provide an indication as to which pieces of the contour belong to perceptually different parts.

Subsequently Tanase developed a 'part-based' search engine. This finds images by using parts of objects. For example, for the image of a deer the engine can look for the legs of the deer. As well as images of a deer, the results found include other images containing similar contours, for example, elks, horses or elephants.

This search method provides a useful addition to the method chosen by MPEG7 to search contours. In certain cases where the MPEG7 method is relatively unsuccessful, the number of objects correctly found can increase from 10 to 70 percent.


In recent years there has been an explosion in the number of digitalized photo collections made available to everyone via the Internet. Museums and art galleries are not the only parties involved. Hospitals also have databases with photos and many companies provide a detailed overview of their entire product range on the web.

Internet search engines such as Google work well for text files but are far less effective in searching for images. Due to the growing number of images in collections, there is an increasing need for good search methods. Searching using keywords is time-consuming and not always effective. Looking for visual information such as colour, texture and shapes found in the images, significantly increases the number of correctly identified objects in a search.

Source: Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research

Explore further: 3-D nanostructure of a bone made visible

Related Stories

3-D nanostructure of a bone made visible

November 19, 2015

Bones are made up of tiny fibres that are roughly a thousand times finer than a human hair. One major feature of these so-called collagen fibrils is that they are ordered and aligned differently depending on the part of the ...

Scientists measure the 'beauty' of coral reefs

November 10, 2015

Almost every person has an appreciation for natural environments. In addition, most people find healthy or pristine locations with high biodiversity more beautiful and aesthetically pleasing than environmentally degraded ...

Managing the data deluge for national security analysts

November 17, 2015

After a disaster or national tragedy, bits of information often are found afterward among vast amounts of available data that might have mitigated or even prevented what happened, had they been recognized ahead of time.

VISTA pinpoints earliest giant galaxies

November 18, 2015

Just counting the number of galaxies in a patch of sky provides a way to test astronomers' theories of galaxy formation and evolution. However, such a simple task becomes increasingly hard as astronomers attempt to count ...

Recommended for you

'Material universe' yields surprising new particle

November 25, 2015

An international team of researchers has predicted the existence of a new type of particle called the type-II Weyl fermion in metallic materials. When subjected to a magnetic field, the materials containing the particle act ...

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

November 25, 2015

The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever. The LHC has been colliding ...

How cells in the developing ear 'practice' hearing

November 25, 2015

Before the fluid of the middle ear drains and sound waves penetrate for the first time, the inner ear cells of newborn rodents practice for their big debut. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report they have figured out the molecular ...

How cells 'climb' to build fruit fly tracheas

November 25, 2015

Fruit fly windpipes are much more like human blood vessels than the entryway to human lungs. To create that intricate network, fly embryonic cells must sprout "fingers" and crawl into place. Now researchers at The Johns Hopkins ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.