An elliptic PDE approach for shape characterization

Haidar H, Bouix S, Levitt J, McCarley RW, Shenton ME, Soul JS

Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2004;2:1521-4

PMID: 17271986


This work presents a novel approach to analyze the shape of anatomical structures. Our methodology is rooted in classical physics and in particular Poisson’s equation, a fundamental partial differential equation, The solution to this equation and more specifically its equipotential surfaces display properties that are useful for shape analysis. We present a numerical algorithm to calculate the length of streamlines formed by the gradient field of the solution to this equation for 2D and 3D objects. The length of the streamlines along the equipotential surfaces was used to build a new function which can characterize the shape of objects. We illustrate our method on 2D synthetic and natural shapes as well as 3D medical data.