Analyzing growing plants from 4D point cloud data

Yangyan Li, Xiaochen Fan, Niloy J. Mitra, Daniel Chamovitz, Daniel Cohen-Or, Baoquan Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Studying growth and development of plants is of central importance in botany. Current quantitative are either limited to tedious and sparse manual measurements, or coarse image-based 2D measurements. Availability of cheap and portable 3D acquisition devices has the potential to automate this process and easily provide scientists with volumes of accurate data, at a scale much beyond the realms of existing methods. However, during their development, plants grow new parts (e.g., vegetative buds) and bifurcate to different components - violating the central incompressibility assumption made by existing acquisition algorithms, which makes these algorithms unsuited for analyzing growth. We introduce a framework to study plant growth, particularly focusing on accurate localization and tracking topological events like budding and bifurcation. This is achieved by a novel forward-backward analysis, wherein we track robustly detected plant components back in time to ensure correct spatio-temporal event detection using a locally adapting threshold. We evaluate our approach on several groups of time lapse scans, often ranging from days to weeks, on a diverse set of plant species and use the results to animate static virtual plants or directly attach them to physical simulators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number157
JournalACM transactions on graphics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • 4D point cloud
  • Event detection
  • Growth analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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