All entries for Wednesday 22 November 2006

November 22, 2006

Line representation

What is the most sensible representation of a line? There are a few possibilities including:
  • Gradient and intercept: (y=mx+c)
  • Two distinct points: (x1,y1) & (x2, y2)
  • r = x cos(a) + y sin(a) : r = the perpendicular distance to the line. a = the angle r makes with the x-axis.

I suppose the actual operations I need to perform on lines should dictate the best represention to ease calculations. Using gradients gets tricky when dealing with vertical lines. Angles are preferable since they range between -Pi/2 and Pi/2.

The line following algorithm relies on calculating the intersection of lines. It produces start and end points of line segments. Therefore representing lines as two distinct points may be the best approach. Calculating the intersection of two lines represented this way is described here

Better Best Fit

As part of my code tidy up I have been thinking again about fitting a line to a set of points.
The new code uses the method described here

#pragma indent

using System
using System.Console
using System.Math
using System.Windows.Forms
using Nemerle.Utility
using Nemerle.Assertions

[Record] struct Point
    [Accessor] _x : double
    [Accessor] _y : double

    public this (x : int, y : int)
        _x = x
        _y = y

    public Offset (x : double, y : double) : Point
        Point(_x + x, _y + y)

    public override ToString () : string
        $"($_x, $_y)" 

module ListPointExts
    private static Sum[T] (items : list[T], f : T -> double) : double
        items.FoldLeft(0.0, (pt, a) => f(pt) + a)

    private static Centroid (points : list[Point]) : Point \
        requires points.Length > 0
        Point(Sum(points, pt => pt.X) / points.Length, Sum(points, pt => pt.Y) / points.Length)

    public static BestFit (this points : list[Point]) : (Point * double)
        def centroid = Centroid(points)
        def pts = points.Map(pt => pt.Offset(-centroid.X, -centroid.Y))

        def xySum = Sum(pts, pt => pt.X * pt.Y)
        def x2_y2Sum = Sum(pts, pt => pt.X * pt.X - pt.Y * pt.Y)

        if (-double.Epsilon < xySum && xySum < double.Epsilon)
            if (-double.Epsilon < x2_y2Sum && x2_y2Sum < double.Epsilon)
                // Points all evenly spaced around centroid
                // HACK: Return horizontal line for now
                (centroid, 0.0)
            else if (x2_y2Sum < 0)
                // Points lie on vertical line
                (centroid, PI / 2)
                // Points lie on horizontal line
                (centroid, 0.0)
            def b = x2_y2Sum / xySum
            def a1 = Atan( (-b + Sqrt(b*b + 4)) / 2 )
            def a2 = Atan( (-b - Sqrt(b*b + 4)) / 2 )

            def SumDistances(a)        
                def cos_a = Cos(a)
                def sin_a = Sin(a)
                def RotateY2(pt)
                    def y = (-pt.X * sin_a) + (pt.Y * cos_a)
                    y * y
                Sum(pts, RotateY2)

            if (SumDistances(a1) < SumDistances(a2))
                (centroid, a1)
                (centroid, a2)

def f = Form()
mutable pts : list[Point] = []

f.MouseUp += fun (_,e)
    if (e.Button == MouseButtons.Left)
        pts = Point(e.X, e.Y) :: pts
        pts = []

f.Paint += fun (_,e)
    when (pts.Length > 0)
        def (c, a) = pts.BestFit()

        def x1 = c.X - Cos(a) * 100
        def y1 = c.Y - Sin(a) * 100
        def x2 = c.X + Cos(a) * 100
        def y2 = c.Y + Sin(a) * 100
        e.Graphics.DrawLine(System.Drawing.Pens.Red, x1 :> int, y1:> int, x2:> int, y2:> int)

    foreach (pt in pts)
        e.Graphics.FillRectangle(System.Drawing.Brushes.Black, pt.X :> int, pt.Y :> int,1,1)


For now the function returns the centroid of the points and the angle of the line. One special case is when there is no “best” fit line because all points are evenly spaced around the centroid. When line following we would want to simply ignore the bogus angle and instead put a line through the centroid from the previous segment end point.
So the BestFit function really needs some kind of tagged union (variant in Nemerle) data type to return. I will create this once the line follower is formalized.

Line Following Prototype

Using my previous prototypes I created a line following program. Given two initial points that indicate the start point and heading, it is able to follow a line drawn on my sample image.

The key function is:
def NextPoint(prevGradient : double, prevStartPoint : Point, prevEndPoint : Point, radius : int, bmp : Bitmap) : (double * Point * Point)

It takes
  • previous gradient
  • line segment (start and end points)
  • pixel capture radius
  • bitmap
    and returns
  • gradient of the next line segment
  • the improved end point for the previous line segment
  • the end point of the new line segment

Repeatedly calling this function passing in the previous data follows the line. The “improved end point” return is the intersection of the previous and current line segments – this make the polyline fit much better around corners. Without that it will overshoot then swing back each time.

I will not post the code here because frankily it’s getting messy! Also I am having some real difficulty expressing vertical lines as Infinite gradients and an X-intercept. It is now time to introduce some proper data structures to represent lines, etc, and better methods of calculating intercept points, etc.

One more quick idea:
Once the line follower has “used” some pixels should they be “removed” to prevent later confusion? I could not remove after one step, since previous pixels are used to shape the current line segment. But the pixels two-steps back should now be out of range. This would also stop the NextPoint function “turning around” at a dead-end.

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