Pose-Sensitive Embedding by Nonlinear NCA Regression

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 23 (NIPS 2010)

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Graham W. Taylor, Rob Fergus, George Williams, Ian Spiro, Christoph Bregler


This paper tackles the complex problem of visually matching people in similar pose but with different clothes, background, and other appearance changes. We achieve this with a novel method for learning a nonlinear embedding based on several extensions to the Neighborhood Component Analysis (NCA) framework. Our method is convolutional, enabling it to scale to realistically-sized images. By cheaply labeling the head and hands in large video databases through Amazon Mechanical Turk (a crowd-sourcing service), we can use the task of localizing the head and hands as a proxy for determining body pose. We apply our method to challenging real-world data and show that it can generalize beyond hand localization to infer a more general notion of body pose. We evaluate our method quantitatively against other embedding methods. We also demonstrate that real-world performance can be improved through the use of synthetic data.