Dr Helen Cooper


Project Officer and Facilities Manager
+44 (0)1483 6801483689851
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Biography

Affiliations and memberships

British Machine Vision Association (BMVA)
I am part of the BMVA Executive Committee and am responsible for the memberships and meeting organisation.

Research projects

My publications

Publications

E Ong, R Bowden, H Cooper, N Pugeault (2012)Sign Language Recognition using Sequential Pattern Treespp. 2200-2207

This paper presents a novel, discriminative, multi-class classifier based on Sequential Pattern Trees. It is efficient to learn, compared to other Sequential Pattern methods, and scalable for use with large classifier banks. For these reasons it is well suited to Sign Language Recognition. Using deterministic robust features based on hand trajectories, sign level classifiers are built from sub-units. Results are presented both on a large lexicon single signer data set and a multi-signer Kinect™ data set. In both cases it is shown to out perform the non-discriminative Markov model approach and be equivalent to previous, more costly, Sequential Pattern (SP) techniques.

This paper presents a method to perform person independent sign recognition. This is achieved by implementing generalising features based on sign linguistics. These are combined using two methods. The first is traditional Markov models, which are shown to lack the required generalisation. The second is a discriminative approach called Sequential Pattern Boosting, which combines feature selection with learning. The resulting system is introduced as a dictionary application, allowing signers to query by performing a sign in front of a Kinect. Two data sets are used and results shown for both, with the query-return rate reaching 99.9% on a 20 sign multi-user dataset and 85.1% on a more challenging and realistic subject independent, 40 sign test set.

H Cooper, R Bowden (2009)Learning Signs From Subtitles: A Weakly Supervised Approach To Sign Language Recognition, In: In Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognitionpp. 2568-2574

This paper introduces a fully-automated, unsupervised method to recognise sign from subtitles. It does this by using data mining to align correspondences in sections of videos. Based on head and hand tracking, a novel temporally constrained adaptation of apriori mining is used to extract similar regions of video, with the aid of a proposed contextual negative selection method. These regions are refined in the temporal domain to isolate the occurrences of similar signs in each example. The system is shown to automatically identify and segment signs from standard news broadcasts containing a variety of topics.

H Cooper, R Bowden (2009)Sign Language Recognition: Working With Limited Corpora, In: In Proceedings of the International Conference on Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Addressing Diversity1pp. 472-481

The availability of video format sign language corpora limited. This leads to a desire for techniques which do not rely on large, fully-labelled datasets. This paper covers various methods for learning sign either from small data sets or from those without ground truth labels. To avoid non-trivial tracking issues; sign detection is investigated using volumetric spatio-temporal features. Following this the advantages of recognising the component parts of sign rather than the signs themselves is demonstrated and finally the idea of using a weakly labelled data set is considered and results shown for work in this area.

H Cooper, R Bowden (2010)Sign Language Recognition using Linguistically Derived Sub-Units, In: Proceedings of 4th Workshop on the Representation and Processing of Sign Languages: Corpora and Sign Language Technologiespp. 57-61

This work proposes to learn linguistically-derived sub-unit classifiers for sign language. The responses of these classifiers can be combined by Markov models, producing efficient sign-level recognition. Tracking is used to create vectors of hand positions per frame as inputs for sub-unit classifiers learnt using AdaBoost. Grid-like classifiers are built around specific elements of the tracking vector to model the placement of the hands. Comparative classifiers encode the positional relationship between the hands. Finally, binary-pattern classifiers are applied over the tracking vectors of multiple frames to describe the motion of the hands. Results for the sub-unit classifiers in isolation are presented, reaching averages over 90%. Using a simple Markov model to combine the sub-unit classifiers allows sign level classification giving an average of 63%, over a 164 sign lexicon, with no grammatical constraints.

HM Cooper, EJ Ong, N Pugeault, R Bowden (2012)Sign Language Recognition using Sub-Units, In: Journal of Machine Learning Research13pp. 2205-2231 Journal of Machine Learning Research

This paper discusses sign language recognition using linguistic sub-units. It presents three types of sub-units for consideration; those learnt from appearance data as well as those inferred from both 2D or 3D tracking data. These sub-units are then combined using a sign level classifier; here, two options are presented. The first uses Markov Models to encode the temporal changes between sub-units. The second makes use of Sequential Pattern Boosting to apply discriminative feature selection at the same time as encoding temporal information. This approach is more robust to noise and performs well in signer independent tests, improving results from the 54% achieved by the Markov Chains to 76%.

H Cooper, R Bowden (2007)Sign Language Recognition Using Boosted Volumetric Features, In: Proceedings of the IAPR Conference on Machine Vision Applicationspp. 359-362

This paper proposes a method for sign language recognition that bypasses the need for tracking by classifying the motion directly. The method uses the natural extension of haar like features into the temporal domain, computed efficiently using an integral volume. These volumetric features are assembled into spatio-temporal classifiers using boosting. Results are presented for a fast feature extraction method and 2 different types of boosting. These configurations have been tested on a data set consisting of both seen and unseen signers performing 5 signs producing competitive results.

H Cooper, R Bowden (2007)Large Lexicon Detection Of Sign Language, In: In Proceedings of the International Conference on Computer Vision: Workshop Human Computer Interactionpp. 88-97

This paper presents an approach to large lexicon sign recog- nition that does not require tracking. This overcomes the issues of how to accurately track the hands through self occlusion in unconstrained video, instead opting to take a detection strategy, where patterns of motion are identi ed. It is demonstrated that detection can be achieved with only minor loss of accuracy compared to a perfectly tracked sequence using coloured gloves. The approach uses two levels of classi cation. In the rst, a set of viseme classi ers detects the presence of sub-Sign units of activity. The second level then assembles visemes into word level Sign using Markov chains. The system is able to cope with a large lexicon and is more expandable than traditional word level approaches. Using as few as 5 training examples the proposed system has classi cation rates as high as 74.3% on a randomly selected 164 sign vocabulary performing at a comparable level to other tracking based systems.

Helen Cooper, Eng-Jon Ong, Nicolas Pugeault, Richard Bowden (2017)Sign Language Recognition Using Sub-units, In: Gesture Recognitionpp. 89-118 Springer International Publishing

This chapter discusses sign language recognition using linguistic sub-units. It presents three types of sub-units for consideration; those learnt from appearance data as well as those inferred from both 2D or 3D tracking data. These sub-units are then combined using a sign level classifier; here, two options are presented. The first uses Markov Models to encode the temporal changes between sub-units. The second makes use of Sequential Pattern Boosting to apply discriminative feature selection at the same time as encoding temporal information. This approach is more robust to noise and performs well in signer independent tests, improving results from the 54% achieved by the Markov Chains to 76%.

R Elliott, HM Cooper, EJ Ong, J Glauert, R Bowden, F Lefebvre-Albaret (2012)Search-By-Example in Multilingual Sign Language Databases

We describe a prototype Search-by-Example or look-up tool for signs, based on a newly developed 1000-concept sign lexicon for four national sign languages (GSL, DGS, LSF,BSL), which includes a spoken language gloss, a HamNoSys description, and a video for each sign. The look-up tool combines an interactive sign recognition system, supported by Kinect technology, with a real-time sign synthesis system,using a virtual human signer, to present results to the user. The user performs a sign to the system and is presented with animations of signs recognised as similar. The user also has the option to view any of these signs performed in the other three sign languages. We describe the supporting technology and architecture for this system, and present some preliminary evaluation results.

HM Cooper, N Pugeault, R Bowden (2011)Reading the Signs: A Video Based Sign Dictionary, In: 2011 International Conference on Computer Vision: 2nd IEEE Workshop on Analysis and Retrieval of Tracked Events and Motion in Imagery Streams (ARTEMIS 2011)pp. 914-919

This article presents a dictionary for Sign Language using visual sign recognition based on linguistic subcomponents. We demonstrate a system where the user makes a query, receiving in response a ranked selection of similar results. The approach uses concepts from linguistics to provide sign sub-unit features and classifiers based on motion, sign-location and handshape. These sub-units are combined using Markov Models for sign level recognition. Results are shown for a video dataset of 984 isolated signs performed by a native signer. Recognition rates reach 71.4% for the first candidate and 85.9% for retrieval within the top 10 ranked signs.

HM Cooper, B Holt, R Bowden (2011)Sign Language Recognition, In: Visual Analysis of Humans: Looking at Peoplepp. 539-562 Springer Verlag

This chapter covers the key aspects of sign-language recognition (SLR), starting with a brief introduction to the motivations and requirements, followed by a précis of sign linguistics and their impact on the field. The types of data available and the relative merits are explored allowing examination of the features which can be extracted. Classifying the manual aspects of sign (similar to gestures) is then discussed from a tracking and non-tracking viewpoint before summarising some of the approaches to the non-manual aspects of sign languages. Methods for combining the sign classification results into full SLR are given showing the progression towards speech recognition techniques and the further adaptations required for the sign specific case. Finally the current frontiers are discussed and the recent research presented. This covers the task of continuous sign recognition, the work towards true signer independence, how to effectively combine the different modalities of sign, making use of the current linguistic research and adapting to larger more noisy data sets

B Holt, E-J Ong, H Cooper, R Bowden (2011)Putting the pieces together: Connected Poselets for human pose estimation, In: 2011 IEEE International Conference on Computer Visionpp. 1196-1201

We propose a novel hybrid approach to static pose estimation called Connected Poselets. This representation combines the best aspects of part-based and example-based estimation. First detecting poselets extracted from the training data; our method then applies a modified Random Decision Forest to identify Poselet activations. By combining keypoint predictions from poselet activitions within a graphical model, we can infer the marginal distribution over each keypoint without any kinematic constraints. Our approach is demonstrated on a new publicly available dataset with promising results.