The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLIII-B2-2020
12 Aug 2020
 | 12 Aug 2020


L. Chen, B. Wu, and Y. Zhao

Keywords: Real-time photogrammetry, 3D body feature, Motion tracking, GPU, Multithreading

Abstract. The human body posture is rich with dynamic information that can be captured by algorithms, and many applications rely on this type of data (e.g., action recognition, people re-identification, human-computer interaction, industrial robotics). The recent development of smart cameras and affordable red-green-blue-depth (RGB-D) sensors has enabled cost-efficient estimation and tracking of human body posture. However, the reliability of single sensors is often insufficient due to occlusion problems, field-of-view limitations, and the limited measurement distances of the RGB-depth sensors. Furthermore, a large-scale real-time response is often required in certain applications, such as physical rehabilitation, where human actions must be detected and monitored over time, or in industries where human motion is monitored to maintain predictable movement flow in a shared workspace. Large-scale markerless motion-capture systems have therefore received extensive research attention in recent years.

In this paper, we propose a real-time photogrammetric system that incorporates multithreading and a graphic process unit (GPU)-accelerated solution for extracting 3D human body dynamics in real-time. The system includes a stereo camera with preliminary calibration, from which left-view and right-view frames are loaded. Then, a dense image-matching algorithm is married with GPU acceleration to generate a real-time disparity map, which is further extended to a 3D map array obtained by photogrammetric processing based on the camera orientation parameters. The 3D body features are acquired from 2D body skeletons extracted from regional multi-person pose estimation (RMPE) and the corresponding 3D coordinates of each joint in the 3D map array. These 3D body features are then extracted and visualised in real-time by multithreading, from which human movement dynamics (e.g., moving speed, knee pressure angle) are derived. The results reveal that the process rate (pose frame-rate) can be 20 fps (frames per second) or above in our experiments (using two NVIDIA 2080Ti and two 12-core CPUs) depending on the GPU exploited by the detector, and the monitoring distance can reach 15 m with a geometric accuracy better than 1% of the distance.

This real-time photogrammetric system is an effective real-time solution to monitor 3D human body dynamics. It uses low-cost RGB stereo cameras controlled by consumer GPU-enabled computers, and no other specialised hardware is required. This system has great potential for applications such as motion tracking, 3D body information extraction and human dynamics monitoring.