Automatic recognition of biological particles in microscopic images

M. Ranzato, P. E. Taylor, J. M. House, R. C. Flagan, Y. LeCun, P. Perona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A simple and general-purpose system to recognize biological particles is presented. It is composed of four stages: First (if necessary) promising locations in the image are detected and small regions containing interesting samples are extracted using a feature finder. Second, differential invariants of the brightness are computed at multiple scales of resolution. Third, after point-wise non-linear mappings to a higher dimensional feature space, this information is averaged over the whole region thus producing a vector of features for each sample that is invariant with respect to rotation and translation. Fourth, each sample is classified using a classifier obtained from a mixture-of-Gaussians generative model. This system was developed to classify 12 categories of particles found in human urine; it achieves a 93.2% correct classification rate in this application. It was subsequently trained and tested on a challenging set of images of airborne pollen grains where it achieved an 83% correct classification rate for the three categories found during one month of observation. Pollen classification is challenging even for human experts and this performance is considered good.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-39
Number of pages9
JournalPattern Recognition Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007


  • Biological particles
  • Cells
  • Feature
  • Mixture of Gaussians (MoG)
  • Non-linearity
  • Pollen
  • Recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Artificial Intelligence


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