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17-05-2021 | Original Article | Issue 6/2021

International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery 6/2021

Unsupervised colonoscopic depth estimation by domain translations with a Lambertian-reflection keeping auxiliary task

Journal:
International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery > Issue 6/2021
Authors:
Hayato Itoh, Masahiro Oda, Yuichi Mori, Masashi Misawa, Shin-Ei Kudo, Kenichiro Imai, Sayo Ito, Kinichi Hotta, Hirotsugu Takabatake, Masaki Mori, Hiroshi Natori, Kensaku Mori
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Abstract

Purpose

A three-dimensional (3D) structure extraction technique viewed from a two-dimensional image is essential for the development of a computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) system for colonoscopy. However, a straightforward application of existing depth-estimation methods to colonoscopic images is impossible or inappropriate due to several limitations of colonoscopes. In particular, the absence of ground-truth depth for colonoscopic images hinders the application of supervised machine learning methods. To circumvent these difficulties, we developed an unsupervised and accurate depth-estimation method.

Method

We propose a novel unsupervised depth-estimation method by introducing a Lambertian-reflection model as an auxiliary task to domain translation between real and virtual colonoscopic images. This auxiliary task contributes to accurate depth estimation by maintaining the Lambertian-reflection assumption. In our experiments, we qualitatively evaluate the proposed method by comparing it with state-of-the-art unsupervised methods. Furthermore, we present two quantitative evaluations of the proposed method using a measuring device, as well as a new 3D reconstruction technique and measured polyp sizes.

Results

Our proposed method achieved accurate depth estimation with an average estimation error of less than 1 mm for regions close to the colonoscope in both of two types of quantitative evaluations. Qualitative evaluation showed that the introduced auxiliary task reduces the effects of specular reflections and colon wall textures on depth estimation and our proposed method achieved smooth depth estimation without noise, thus validating the proposed method.

Conclusions

We developed an accurate depth-estimation method with a new type of unsupervised domain translation with the auxiliary task. This method is useful for analysis of colonoscopic images and for the development of a CAD system since it can extract accurate 3D information.

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