A vision-based system for automatic hand washing quality assessment


Hand washing is a critical activity in preventing the spread of infection in health-care environments and food preparation areas. Several guidelines recommended a hand washing protocol consisting of six steps that ensure that all areas of the hands are thoroughly cleaned. In this paper, we describe a novel approach that uses a computer vision system to measure the user’s hands motions to ensure that the hand washing guidelines are followed. A hand washing quality assessment system needs to know if the hands are joined or separated and it has to be robust to different lighting conditions, occlusions, reflections and changes in the color of the sink surface. This work presents three main contributions: a description of a system which delivers robust hands segmentation using a combination of color and motion analysis, a single multi-modal particle filter (PF) in combination with a k-means-based clustering technique to track both hands/arms, and the implementation of a multi-class classification of hand gestures using a support vector machine ensemble. PF performance is discussed and compared with a standard Kalman filter estimator. Finally, the global performance of the system is analyzed and compared with human performance, showing an accuracy close to that of human experts.

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Correspondence to David Fernández Llorca.

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Llorca, D.F., Parra, I., Sotelo, M.Á. et al. A vision-based system for automatic hand washing quality assessment. Machine Vision and Applications 22, 219–234 (2011).

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  • Hand washing
  • Bi-manual gesture recognition
  • Kalman filter
  • Particle filter
  • Skin detection
  • Tracking
  • Multi-class SVM