Action Recognition Using Rate-Invariant Analysis of Skeletal Shape Trajectories

Boulbaba Ben Amor, Jingyong Su, Anuj Srivastava

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


We study the problem of classifying actions of human subjects using depth movies generated by Kinect or other depth sensors. Representing human body as dynamical skeletons, we study the evolution of their (skeletons') shapes as trajectories on Kendall's shape manifold. The action data is typically corrupted by large variability in execution rates within and across subjects and, thus, causing major problems in statistical analyses. To address that issue, we adopt a recently-developed framework of Su et al. [1] , [2] to this problem domain. Here, the variable execution rates correspond to re-parameterizations of trajectories, and one uses a parameterization-invariant metric for aligning, comparing, averaging, and modeling trajectories. This is based on a combination of transported square-root vector fields (TSRVFs) of trajectories and the standard Euclidean norm, that allows computational efficiency. We develop a comprehensive suite of computational tools for this application domain: smoothing and denoising skeleton trajectories using median filtering, up- and down-sampling actions in time domain, simultaneous temporal-registration of multiple actions, and extracting invertible Euclidean representations of actions. Due to invertibility these Euclidean representations allow both discriminative and generative models for statistical analysis. For instance, they can be used in a SVM-based classification of original actions, as demonstrated here using MSR Action-3D, MSR Daily Activity and 3D Action Pairs datasets. Using only the skeletal information, we achieve state-of-the-art classification results on these datasets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7115162
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Action Recognition
  • Depth sensors
  • Manifold Trajectories
  • Riemannian geometry
  • Skeletal data


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