Perceptually Based Learning of Shape Descriptions for Sketch Recognition

Olya Veselova and Randall Davis

We areinterested in enabling a generic sketch recognition system that would allow more natural interaction with design tools in various domains, such as mechanical engineering, military planning, logic design, etc. We would like to teach the system the symbols for a particular domain by simply drawing an example of each one — as easy as it is to teach a person. Studies in cognitive science suggest that, when shown a symbol, people attend preferentially to certain geometric features. Relying on such biases, we built a system capable of learning descriptions of hand-drawn symbols from a single example. The generalization power is derived from a qualitative vocabulary reflecting human perceptual categories and a focus on perceptually relevant global properties of the symbol. Our user study shows that the system agrees with the subjects’ majority classification about as often as any individual subject did.


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