Chip-based adaptive skin color detection using trajectory constraints on hue

Ying Hao Yu, Tsu Tian Lee, Ngai Ming Kwok, Pei Yin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In a construction site, the safety of workers can be better secured if vehicle or robot can be properly maneuvered by using image-based gesture guidance. This kind of semi-automatic motion control is based on the features extracted in colors, outlines, textures, and motion intentions. Among these features, detecting worker’s skin color on face and hands could serve as an essential method for enabling robot to determine the region of interest (ROI). However, the performance of skin detection is usually unreliable due to interferences from reflections and shadows. Although many efficient skin color detection methods had been developed in past years, those are mostly based on complicated learning and statistical processes and are unsuitable for embedded systems. The exploration of a concise and efficient skin color detector, therefore, becomes a challenge for applications in mobile robots. Method: In this paper, we propose a novel adaptive skin detector on face and hands as a fundamental capability of a gesture tracking system. This approach enhances the detection performance of traditional HSV color space but only requires a low computing power. For the design criteria of small size, low-power, low-cost, and minimum computing resource usages on mobile robots, the entire detecting system is built on single field-programmable-gate-array (FPGA) chip. Meanwhile, besides the contributions of adaptive algorithms and FPGA chip designs, the proposed skin detector also employs a touch screen to designate expected skin color of worker as the human-robot interaction (HRI) in real-time. Results: The chip design of the FPGA is based on hardware circuits in register-transfer-level (RTL) for real-time image processing. A reasonable amount of hardware resource usages of FPGA have consumed 8% of logic elements (LEs) and 1.4% for embedded random access memory (RAM). Demonstrations with various pictures had indicated that sufficient ROI can be efficiently identified by using the proposed adaptive skin color detector. Conclusions: According to our experimental results, the proposed adaptive skin detection can work well for non-ideal illumination. It has demonstrated the reliability and feasibility on supporting the embedded robotic control in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalVisualization in Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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