Feature extraction is one of the major challenges in object recognition. Features that are extracted from one type of objects cannot always be used directly for a different type of objects, therefore limiting the performance of feature extraction. Having an automatic feature learning algorithm could be a big advantage for an object recognition algorithm. This research first introduces several improvements on a fully automatic feature construction method called Evolution COnstructed Feature (ECO-Feature). These improvements are developed to construct more robust features and make the training process more efficient than the original version. The main weakness of the original ECO-Feature algorithm is that it is designed only for binary classification and cannot be directly applied to multi-class cases. We also observe that the recognition performance depends heavily on the size of the feature pool from which features can be selected and the ability of selecting the best features. For these reasons, we have developed an enhanced evolutionary learning method for multi-class object classification to address these challenges. Our method is called Evolutionary Learning of Boosted Features (ECO-Boost). ECO-Boost method is an efficient evolutionary learning algorithm developed to automatically construct highly discriminative image features from the training image for multi-class image classification. This unique method constructs image features that are often overlooked by humans, and is robust to minor image distortion and geometric transformations. We evaluate this algorithm with a few visual inspection datasets including specialty crops, fruits and road surface conditions. Results from extensive experiments confirm that ECO-Boost performs closely comparable to other methods and achieves a good balance between accuracy and simplicity for real-time multi-class object classification applications. It is a hardware-friendly algorithm that can be optimized for hardware implementation in an FPGA for real-time embedded visual inspection applications.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering

Date Submitted


Document Type





ECO-Boost, evolutionary computation, feature construction, multi-class classification, object recognition, boosting, visual inspection, quality grading