Flexible three-dimensional modeling of plants using low- resolution cameras and visual odometry

by Thiago T. Santos and Gustavo C. Rodrigues


The three-dimensional reconstruction of plants using computer vision methods is a promising alternative to non-destructive metrology in plant phenotyping. However, diversity in plants form and size, different surrounding environments (laboratory, greenhouse or field), and occlusions impose challenging issues. We propose the use of state-of-the-art methods for visual odometry to accurately recover camera pose and preliminary three-dimensional models on image acquisition time. Specimens of maize and sunflower were imaged using a single free-moving camera and a software tool with visual odometry capabilities. Multiple-view stereo was employed to produce dense point clouds sampling the plant surfaces. The produced three-dimensional models are accurate snapshots of the shoot state and plant measurements can be recovered in a non-invasive way. The results show a free-moving low-resolution camera is able to handle occlusions and variations in plant size and form, allowing the reconstruction of different species, and specimens in different stages of development. It is also a cheap and flexible method, suitable for different phenotyping needs. Plant traits were computed from the point clouds and compared to manually measured reference, showing millimeter accuracy. All data, including images, camera calibration, pose, and three-dimensional models are publicly available.

DOI: 10.1007/s00138-015-0729-3


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