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Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.01047

Investigation of event-based memory surfaces for high-speed detection, unsupervised feature extraction, and object recognition

  • 1Western Sydney University, Australia

In this work we investigate event-based feature extraction through a rigorous framework of testing. We test a hardware efficient variant of Spike Timing Dependent Plasticity (STDP) on a range of spatio-temporal kernels with different surface decaying methods, decay functions, receptive field sizes, feature numbers, and back end classifiers. This detailed investigation can provide helpful insights and rules of thumb for performance versus complexity trade-offs in more generalized networks, especially in the context of hardware implementation, where design choices can incur significant resource costs. The investigation is performed using a new dataset consisting of model airplanes being dropped free-hand close to the sensor. The target objects exhibit a wide range of relative orientations and velocities. This range of target velocities, analyzed in multiple configurations, allows a rigorous comparison of time-based decaying surfaces (time surfaces) versus event index-based decaying surface (index surfaces), which are used to perform unsupervised feature extraction, followed by target detection and recognition. We examine each processing stage by comparison to the use of raw events, as well as a range of alternative layer structures, and the use of random features. By comparing results from a linear classifier and an ELM classifier, we evaluate how each element of the system affects accuracy. To generate time and index surfaces, the most commonly used kernels, namely event binning kernels, linearly and exponentially decaying kernels, are investigated. Index surfaces were found to outperform time surfaces in recognition when invariance to target velocity was made a requirement. In the investigation of network structure, larger networks of neurons with large receptive field sizes were found to perform best. We find that a small number of event-based feature extractors can project the complex spatio-temporal event patterns of the dataset to an almost linearly separable representation in feature space, with best performing linear classifier achieving 98.75% recognition accuracy, using only twenty-five feature extracting neurons.

Keywords: event-based vision, Recognition & Classification, Neuromorphic, event-based, unsupervided learning

Received: 17 Aug 2018; Accepted: 24 Dec 2018.

Edited by:

Haizhou Li, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Reviewed by:

Huajin Tang, Sichuan University, China
Arren Glover, Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Afshar, Hamilton, Tapson, van Schaik and Cohen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mr. Saeed Afshar, Western Sydney University, Penrith, Australia,