Light-weight salient foreground detection for embedded smart cameras

Mauricio Casares, Senem Velipasalar, Alvaro Pinto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


An embedded smart camera is a stand-alone unit that not only captures images, but also includes a processor, memory and communication interface. Battery-powered, embedded smart cameras introduce many additional challenges since they have very limited resources, such as energy, processing power and memory. Computer vision algorithms running on these camera boards should be light-weight and efficient. Considering the memory requirements of an algorithm and its portability to an embedded processor should be an integral part of the algorithm design in addition to the accuracy requirements. This paper presents a light-weight and efficient background modeling and foreground detection algorithm that is highly robust against lighting variations and non-static backgrounds including scenes with swaying trees, water fountains and rain. Compared to many traditional methods, the memory requirement for the data saved for each pixel is very small in the proposed algorithm. Moreover, the number of memory accesses and instructions are adaptive, and are decreased depending on the amount of activity in the scene. Each pixel is treated differently based on its history, and instead of requiring the same number of memory accesses and instructions for every pixel, we require less instructions for stable background pixels. The plot of the number of unstable pixels at each frame also serves as a tool to find the video portions with high activity. The proposed method selectively updates the background model with an automatically adaptive rate, thus can adapt to rapid changes. As opposed to traditional methods, pixels are not always treated individually, and information about neighbors is incorporated into decision making. The results obtained with nine challenging outdoor and indoor sequences are presented, and compared with the results of different state-of-the-art background subtraction methods. The ROC curves and memory comparison of different background subtraction methods are also provided. The experimental results demonstrate the success of the proposed light-weight salient foreground detection method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1223-1237
Number of pages15
JournalComputer Vision and Image Understanding
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Background subtraction
  • Embedded
  • Foreground detection
  • Light-weight
  • Memory
  • Salient motion
  • Smart camera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


Dive into the research topics of 'Light-weight salient foreground detection for embedded smart cameras'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this