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We define and address the problem of finding the {\em visual focus of attention for a varying number of wandering people} (VFOA-W) -- where the people's movement is unconstrained. VFOA-W estimation is a new and important problem with mplications for behavior understanding and cognitive science, as well as real-world applications. One such application, which we present in this article, monitors the attention passers-by pay to an outdoor advertisement. Our approach to the VFOA-W problem proposes a multi-person tracking solution based on a dynamic Bayesian network that simultaneously infers the (variable) number of people in a scene, their body locations, their head locations, and their head pose. For efficient inference in the resulting large variable-dimensional state-space we propose a Reversible Jump Markov Chain Monte Carlo (RJMCMC) sampling scheme, as well as a novel global observation model which determines the number of people in the scene and localizes them. We propose a Gaussian Mixture Model (GMM) and Hidden Markov Model (HMM)-based VFOA-W model which use head pose and location information to determine people's focus state. Our models are evaluated for tracking performance and ability to recognize people looking at an outdoor advertisement, with results indicating good performance on sequences where a moderate number of people pass in front of an advertisement.
Image Processing and Computer Vision, Tracking, Scene Analysis, Computer vision, Marketing

D. Gatica-Perez, J. Odobez, K. Smith and S. O. Ba, "Tracking the Visual Focus of Attention for a Varying Number of Wandering People," in IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis & Machine Intelligence, vol. 30, no. , pp. 1212-1229, 2007.
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