
Constrained Hough Transforms for Curve Detection
Clark F. Olson Computer Vision and Image Understanding, 73(3): 329345, March 1999. Download (284 K) This paper describes techniques to perform fast and accurate curve detection using constrained Hough transforms, in which localization error can be propagated efficiently into the parameter space. We first review a formal definition of Hough transform and modify it to allow the formal treatment localization error. We then analyze current Hough transform techniques with respect to this definition. It is shown that the Hough transform can be subdivided into many small subproblems without a decrease in performance, where each subproblem is constrained to consider only those curves that pass through some subset of the edge pixels up to the localization error. This property allows us to accurately and efficiently propagate localization error into the parameter space such that curves are detected robustly without finding false positives. The use of randomization techniques yields an algorithm with a worstcase complexity of O(n), where n is the number of edge pixels in the image, if we are only required to find curves that are significant with respect to the complexity of the image. Experiments are discussed that indicate that this method is superior to previous techniques for performing curve detection and results are given showing the detection of lines and circles in real images. 