Image processing systems have typically exhibited a high degree of application
specificity. This makes it unlikely that any of the processing tasks for one
application can be applied to another. Research has also found that such
systems had not made use of knowledge about human perception although, it
can be argued, such knowledge is independent of the application.
This thesis takes the view that the structures which people perceive in pictures
are of considerable importance to supporting picture-based human computer
interaction. However, the design of systems which process pictures based on
knowledge of human perception presents two major challenges. The first
relates to determining the appropriate psychological knowledge that the
computational modelling effort will be based upon. The second relates to the
testing and evaluation of systems that aim to generate perceptually-valid
structures, which poses significant problems because such systems are
concerned with perceptual structures rather than semantic interpretations.
An approach to developing picture processing systems is proposed that
overcomes these problems. The approach represents a development strategy
that exploits psychological theory in constructing image processing algorithms.
The aim of these algorithms is to generate structures that match those perceived
by humans. The approach enables new algorithms to be developed as
additional psychological knowledge becomes available. Given appropriate
training, users of such systems are able to see in images the structures that are
generated by the system.
The thesis presents the results of a study of perceptual and computational
approaches to the processing of pictures. Motivations for and the
development of a computational model based on perceptual grouping are
described. A thorough evaluation of the computational model is performed
which highlights both its value and limitations. Specific applications of the
computational model in areas such as shape emergence in design, and pictorial
databases, are then considered.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.