Visual Vibrometry: Estimating Material Properties from Small Motion in Video

Abe Davis
Katherine L. Bouman
Justin G. Chen
Fredo Durand
William T. Freeman
IEEE Conf. on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)(2015)


The estimation of material properties is important for scene understanding, with many applications in vision, robotics, and structural engineering. This paper connects fundamentals of vibration mechanics with computer vision techniques in order to infer material properties from small, often imperceptible motion in video. Objects tend to vibrate in a set of preferred modes. The shapes and frequencies of these modes depend on the structure and material properties of an object. Focusing on the case where geometry is known or fixed, we show how information about an object’s modes of vibration can be extracted from video and used to make inferences about that object’s material properties. We demonstrate our approach by estimating material properties for a variety of rods and fabrics by passively observing their motion in high-speed and regular frame-rate video.

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