Finding Waldo

An Investigation into Machine Learning for Object Detection

One of the resources that Amazon Web Services provides is a platform for researchers and professionals to create, train and use models that can detect specific objects in image or video data. These object detection/recognition (ODR) models are used to detect people, cars, wildlife and other objects. The applications of ODR models extend to environmental health, public safety and general everyday-life improvement. These models allow us to use video data to do things like enumerate the number of people who are at a particular beach or to detect malfunctions on solar panels. In this presentation, we present an ODR model to detect the Waldo character in the popular children’s series “Where’s Waldo?” We use our results to motivate further investigations in machine learning and ODR modeling. By identifying key limitations and issues during the development of the project, we gain a better understanding of how to present project material to a population of people interested in learning more about machine learning, data collecting, and ODR modeling through AWS Sagemaker. We also discuss how we can extend “finding Waldo” to other problems, such as classifying whales by their tails or detecting faces in a video feed. See "Related Links" for more details.

This research conducted in Spring 2019 under the supervision of Dr. Alona Kryshchenko, CSU Channel Islands and in collaboration with Maria Contreras and Jonathan Camarillo.


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