Stolkin, a Stevens professor, publishes paper in elite journal

Paper is featured in Measurement Science and Technology

HOBOKEN, N.J. -- Rustam Stolkin, Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, has recently lead-authored and published a paper in the Institute of Physics Publishing's journal, Measurement Science and Technology. A focus of Stolkin's research is robotic vision, developing algorithms which enable computers to make sense of the world by "looking" at it through video cameras. One important use of these techniques is to enable a robot to navigate by visually determining its position with respect to an observed object or scene.

To properly test these algorithms, one needs video sequences for which the camera's true position at every frame has already been measured. These ground-truth positions can then be compared with the estimated positions created by the robotic vision algorithm to see if they are correct. Unfortunately it is extremely difficult to generate such ground-truth video sequences, making it difficult for robot vision researchers to prove that their algorithms actually work.

Stolkin and his collaborators have solved this problem by using a robot arm to move a video camera, filming a variety of video sequences along identical camera trajectories. Some of these sequences feature visually interesting scenes which are fed to the vision algorithm. Other sequences feature black calibration targets containing grids of white dots. By analyzing the position of the dots in each image, the camera's position can be calculated. These positions can then be used as ground-truth for corresponding images in the visually interesting sequences used to test the vision algorithm.

The paper appears in the current online edition and is available free online at It will be featured in the October 2006 print version of MST.


About Stevens Institute of Technology Established in 1870, Stevens offers baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees in engineering, science, computer science, management and technology management, as well as a baccalaureate in the humanities and liberal arts, and in business and technology. Located directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan, the university has enrollments of approximately 1,780 undergraduates and 2,700 graduate students, and a current enrollment of 2,250 online-learning students worldwide. Additional information may be obtained from its web page at For the latest news about Stevens, please visit

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