Utilizing a Compact Color Microscope Imaging System (CCMIS), a unique algorithm has been developed that combines human intelligence along with machine vision techniques to produce an autonomous microscope tool for biomedical, industrial, and space applications. This technique is based on an adaptive, morphological, feature-based mapping function comprising 24 mutually inclusive feature metrics that are used to determine the metrics for complex cell/objects derived from color image analysis. Some of the features include:

  • Area (total numbers of non-background pixels inside and including theperimeter),
  • Bounding Box (smallest rectangle that bounds and object),
  • centerX (x-coordinate of intensity-weighted, center-of-mass of an entire object or multi-object blob),
  • centerY (y-coordinate of intensity-weighted, center-of-mass, of an entire object or multi-object blob), • Circumference (a measure of circumference that takes into account whether neighboring pixels are diagonal, which is a longer distance than horizontally or vertically joined pixels),
  • Elongation (measure of particle elongation given as a number between 0 and 1. If equal to 1, the particle bounding box is square. As the elongation decreases from 1, the particle becomes more elongated),
  • Ext_vector (extremal vector), • Major Axis (the length of a major axis of a smallest ellipse encompassing an object), • Minor Axis (the length of a minor axis of a smallest ellipse encompassing an object),
  • Partial (indicates if the particle extends beyond the field of view), • Perimeter Points (points that make up a particle perimeter),
  • Roundness [(4π × area)/perimeter2) the result is a measure of object roundness, or compactness, given as a value between 0 and 1. The greater the ratio, the rounder the object.],
  • Thin in center (determines if an object becomes thin in the center, (figure-eight-shaped),
  • Theta (orientation of the major axis),
  • Smoothness and color metrics for each component (red, green, blue) the minimum, maximum, average, and standard deviation within the particle are tracked.

CCMIS Automatically Identifies Tumor Morphology of florescence stained images. The key with this application is that the second set of tumor images above could not be identified by human experts. However, CCMIS was able to identify the tumor cells in seconds.
These metrics can be used for autonomous analysis of color images from a microscope, video camera, or digital, still image. It can also automatically identify tumor morphology of stained images and has been used to detect stained cell phenomena (see figure).

This work was done by Mark McDowell of Glenn Research Center and Elizabeth Gray of Scientific Consulting, Inc. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Information Sciences category.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to NASA Glenn Research Center, Innovative Partnerships Office, Attn: Steve Fedor, Mail Stop 4–8, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44135. Refer to LEW-18291-1.

Imaging Technology Magazine

This article first appeared in the December, 2009 issue of Imaging Technology Magazine.

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