Human Activity Recognition Using Cascaded Dual Attention CNN and Bi-Directional GRU Framework

Hayat Ullah, Arslan Munir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vision-based human activity recognition (HAR) has emerged as one of the essential research areas in video analytics. Over the last decade, numerous advanced deep learning algorithms have been introduced to recognize complex human actions from video streams. These deep learning algorithms have shown impressive performance for the video analytics task. However, these newly introduced methods either exclusively focus on model performance or the effectiveness of these models in terms of computational efficiency, resulting in a biased trade-off between robustness and computational efficiency in their proposed methods to deal with challenging HAR problem. To enhance both the accuracy and computational efficiency, this paper presents a computationally efficient yet generic spatial–temporal cascaded framework that exploits the deep discriminative spatial and temporal features for HAR. For efficient representation of human actions, we propose an efficient dual attentional convolutional neural network (DA-CNN) architecture that leverages a unified channel–spatial attention mechanism to extract human-centric salient features in video frames. The dual channel–spatial attention layers together with the convolutional layers learn to be more selective in the spatial receptive fields having objects within the feature maps. The extracted discriminative salient features are then forwarded to a stacked bi-directional gated recurrent unit (Bi-GRU) for long-term temporal modeling and recognition of human actions using both forward and backward pass gradient learning. Extensive experiments are conducted on three publicly available human action datasets, where the obtained results verify the effectiveness of our proposed framework (DA-CNN+Bi-GRU) over the state-of-the-art methods in terms of model accuracy and inference runtime across each dataset. Experimental results show that the DA-CNN+Bi-GRU framework attains an improvement in execution time up to 167× in terms of frames per second as compared to most of the contemporary action-recognition methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number130
JournalJournal of Imaging
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • activity recognition
  • channel–spatial attention
  • convolutional neural network
  • deep learning
  • gated recurrent unit
  • pattern recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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