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Open Hermite Snake



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Plugin for ImageJ

[Version 28.01.2014]

Open Hermite Snake Plugin

Image analysis tool

Written by Virginie Uhlmann at the Biomedical Image Group (BIG), EPFL, Switzerland

Open Hermite Snake before convergence.

Open Hermite Snake after convergence.

Figure 1. Open Hermite Snake before convergence.

Figure 2. Open Hermite Snake after convergence.


This software implements an open-ended active contour (a.k.a. snake) built using two complementary Hermite-spline basis functions that jointly interpolate the contour points and their tangents. Our model is driven by an energy term relying on steerable filters and can hence be tuned to be attracted either to edges or to ridges. The approach benefits from an intuitive user-interface that facilitates interaction with the contour, a useful tool in complex images where the algorithm might need external feedback.


Technical Explanations

Most parametric snakes are defined as closed curves. Comparatively, there are much fewer solutions that can handle open ones. Here, we introduce an active contour that is open ended and fully defined by the values of few anchor points and their tangents. Our snake uses two complementary interpolation functions that provide both point-wise and tangential control. This is achieved by a mechanism commonly known as Hermite interpolation. The proposed model gives direct control over tangents of the curve, which allows us to impose natural conditions on the extremities of the snake.

The evolution of the curve is formulated as a minimization problem. The associated cost function is called the energy. The definition of the energy functional depends on the image-analysis problem. Therefore, the quality of the segmentation strongly relies on the appropriate design of this term. Often, traditional snakes use edge-based detectors to guide them and are thus inefficient to detect ridge-like structures. We address this limitation and propose an energy term using steerable filters that can be easily tuned to be attracted either to edges or to ridges.


ImageJ prerequirement

The software provided here is a plugin for ImageJ, a general purpose image-processing and image-analysis package. ImageJ has a public domain licence; it runs on several plateforms: Unix, Linux, Windows, Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. It doesn't take more than a couple of minutes to install.

Download and install

To install the plugin download the OpenHSnake.jar file and put it in the plugins folder of ImageJ (ImageJ/plugins/). The Open Hermite Snake plugin also requires some external libraries that have been regrouped in the following archive file. The archive should be uncompressed, and the elements it contains should be placed into the jars folder of the plugins folder of ImageJ (ImageJ/plugins/jars/).

User manual

Conditions of use

You'll be free to use this software for research purposes, but you must not transmit and distribute it without our consent. In addition, you undertake to include a citation to the associated papers whenever you present or publish results that are based on it. EPFL makes no warranties of any kind on this software and shall in no event be liable for damages of any kind in connection with the use and exploitation of this technology.

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© 2014 EPFL • • 30.10.2014