Russell Manning > Research > Fast Self Calibration

Fast Self Calibration

Our initial publication concerning screw-transform manifolds included a simple algorithm for performing self calibration (click here for a discussion of self calibration and screw-transform manifolds). This was a voting algorithm and amounted to a Hough transformation for self calibration. The algorithm had the strengths and weaknesses of any Hough-like algorithm: it was robust to outliers but was slow and required large amounts of memory. Furthermore, the results of the voting process could be ambiguous.

Recently, we developed a fast alternative to the voting algorithm that makes self calibration from screw-transform manifolds not just feasible but possibly the premier method for self calibration. This work is currently under review for publication so we can not discuss the details of the method here. However, some of our results are discussed below.

Here are the strengths of our algorithm:



The speed of our algorithm is demonstrated by the histogram on the left. Several hundred trials on noisy, synthetic data were run; each trial consisted of several RANSAC iterations and each iteration involved 3 fundamental matrices. These experiments were run on a Sun UltraSparc. The histogram shows the distribution of runtimes for each RANSAC iteration; the vast majority of iterations took under 1 second.


The histogram on the right shows the distribution of calibration error for several hundred trials on synthetic data. The synthetic images were 1000x1000 pixels in size and uniform noise with a radius of 2 pixels in both the x and y direction was added to the feature points; there were about 100 feature points, and the standard deviation of the features on each camera's image plane was about 170 pixels (this is a measure of the retinal size of the object; the object covered 1/3 to ½ of each camera's view). As a general rule, near-perfect reconstructions are achieved when Frobenious error is below 0.001.

Possible Calibrations

It is unknown how many possible internal calibration matrices are consistent with a given triplet of views in general configuration. An upper bound of 21 was given by Shaffalitzky. Our method makes it possible to estimate this number experimentally. The histogram on the right shows the number of legal internal calibration matrices found for a randomly generated triplet of camera views; several hundred trials were performed, each with a different randomly-generated triplet, and the results are shown as a distribution. These results suggest that only 1 or 2 calibrations are possible for 3 camera views in general configuration.


Here is an example of self calibration and scene reconstruction from real photographs. Fig. 1 shows the 3 original camera views used in the process; each view was taken by the same camera (from different positions) without changing the camera's internal parameters. Note that the views are fairly closely positioned in space and that the camera introduced some radial lens distortion, which was not corrected for. The calibration process was more difficult due to these last two observations. Fig. 2 shows several views of the reconstructed scene; the reconstruction is mirror reversed. Note in the last (overhead) view that the two walls of the box are at right angles.

A movie of the reconstruction is available as an ".avi" file; use the DivX version if possible: [0.65M (DivX codec)] [2.2M (Indeo codec)]

A longer movie of the reconstruction; this version runs in a closed loop: [2.8M (DivX codec)] [9.4M (Indeo codec)]

Fig. 1: Original Camera Views

Fig. 2: Scene Reconstructions

Russell Manning / / created 01/27/03 / last modified 02/15/03