What started as a class project has developed into a prototype algorithm for an actual medical instrument. The motivation is simple. Elderly people, wheelchair bound individuals, amputees, and many other people suffer from large wounds known commonly as pressure ulcers or bed sores. These wounds (apart from being very nasty) can be quite painful and take a very long time to heal. Because the healing process is so long, the wound must be measured daily to determine if interventions used by the medical personnel are helping to shrink it.
Usually wound area and volume are measured. Currently, when area is measured, it is often done by measuring length and width and modeling the wound as a rectangle. I created a computer algorithm that is capable extracting the area with very small error (less than 5%).
I used a simple algorithm that takes examines the image and makes a guess about the wound outline. This initial version still has some problems, but the end results were very encouraging.
The end result was a total success! In addition to performing quite well, this project impressed my professor so much that I was offered a graduate research assistantship position in the lab where I now work.
This project is now being maintained and even drastically improved by grad students working at CATEA and CCG Group at Georgia Tech.