Automatic facial age estimation

Khan, Muhammad Aurangzeb (2015) Automatic facial age estimation. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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The reliability of automatically estimating human ages, by processing input facial images, has generally been found to be poor. On other hand, various real world applications, often relating to safety and security, depend on an accurate estimate of a person’s age. In such situations, Face Image based Automatic Age Estimation (FI-AAE) systems which are more reliable and may ideally surpass human ability, are of importance as and represent a critical pre-requisite technology. Unfortunately, in terms of estimation accuracy and thus performance, contemporary FI-AAE systems are impeded by challenges which exist in both of the two major FI-AAE processing phases i.e. i) Age based feature extraction and representation and ii) Age group classification. Challenges in the former phase arise because facial shape and texture change independently and the magnitude of these changes vary during the different stages of a person’s life. Additionally, contemporary schemes struggle to exploit age group specific characteristics of these features, which in turn has a detrimental effect on overall system performance. Furthermore misclassification errors which occur in the second processing phase and are caused by the smooth inter-class variations often observed between adjacent age groups, pose another major challenge and are responsible for low overall FI-AAE performance. In this thesis a novel Multi-Level Age Estimation (ML-AE) framework is proposed that addresses the aforementioned challenges and improves upon state-of-the-art FI-AAE system performance. The proposed ML-AE is a hierarchical classification scheme that maximizes and then exploits inter-class variation among different age groups at each level of the hierarchy. Furthermore, the proposed scheme exploits age based discriminating information taken from two different cues (i.e. facial shape and texture) at the decision level which improves age estimation results. During the process of achieving our main objective of age estimation, this research work also contributes to two associated image processing/analysis areas: i) Face image modeling and synthesis; a process of representing face image data with a low dimensionality set of parameters. This is considered as precursor to every face image based age estimation system and has been studied in this thesis within the context of image face recognition ii) measuring face image data variability that can help in representing/ranking different face image datasets according to their classification difficulty level. Thus a variability measure is proposed that can also be used to predict the classification performance of a given face recognition system operating upon a particular input face dataset. Experimental results based on well-known face image datasets revealed the superior performance of our proposed face analysis, synthesis and face image based age classification methodologies, as compared to that obtained from conventional schemes.

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Thesis (PhD)
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30 Oct 2015 12:20
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 00:16