Journal paper

G. Azzopardi and N. Petkov, “Automatic detection of vascular bifurcations in segmented retinal images using trainable COSFIRE filters”, Pattern Recognition Letters, vol. 34 (8), pp. 922-933, 2013.
[Impact Factor: 1.06] [abstract] [pdf] [bib] [matlab]


Background: The vascular tree observed in a retinal fundus image can provide clues for cardiovascular diseases. Its analysis requires the identification of vessel bifurcations and crossovers.

Methods: We use a set of trainable keypoint detectors that we call Combination Of Shifted FIlter REsponses or COSFIRE filters to automatically detect vascular bifurcations in segmented retinal images. We configure a set of COSFIRE filters that are selective for a number of prototype bifurcations and demonstrate that such filters can be effectively used to detect bifurcations that are similar to the prototypical ones. The automatic configuration of such a filter selects given channels of a bank of Gabor filters and determines certain blur and shift parameters. The response of a COSFIRE filter is computed as the weighted geometric mean of the blurred and shifted responses of the selected Gabor filters. The COSFIRE approach is inspired by the function of a specific type of shape-selective neuron in area V4 of visual cortex.

Results: We ran experiments on three data sets and achieved the following results: a) recall of 97.88% at precision of 96.94% on 40 manually segmented images provided in the DRIVE data set, b) a recall of 97.32% at precision of 96.04% on 20 manually segmented images provided in the STARE data set, and c) a recall of 97.02% at precision of 96.53% on a set of 10 automatically segmented images obtained from images in the DRIVE data set.

Conclusions: The COSFIRE filters that we use are conceptually simple and easy to implement: the filter output is computed as the weighted geometric mean of blurred and shifted Gabor filter responses. They are versatile keypoint detectors as they can be configured with any given local contour pattern and are subsequently able to detect the same and similar patterns.

Matlab implementation of the COSFIRE keypoint detector

You are kindly invited to use the Matlab implementation of the COSFIRE keypoint detector for academic purposes and cite the above publication.