I am looking for a way to re-identify/classify/recognize x real life objects (x < 50) with a camera. Each object should be presented to the AI only once for learning and there's always only one of these objects in the query image. New objects should be addable to the list of "known" objects. The objects are not necessarily part of ImageNet nor do I have a training dataset with various instances of these objects.


In the beginning I have no "known" objects. Now I present a smartphone, a teddy bear and a pair of scissors to the system. It should learn to re-identify these three objects if presented in the future. The objects will be the exact same objects, i.e. not a different phone, but definitely in a different viewing angle, lighting etc.

My understanding is that I would have to place each object in an embedding space and do a simple nearest neighbor lookup in that space for the queries. Maybe just use a trained ResNet, cut off the classification and simply use the output vector for each object? Not sure what the best way would be.

Any advice or hint to the right direction would be highly appreciated.

  • $\begingroup$ This is basically not possible. $\endgroup$ Oct 31, 2020 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ I have heard that exact sentence a couple of times in the past. Most times there was a solution after all, so I am not giving up so fast. One idea that comes to mind: Learn distinctive features of objects: Fuzziness, main color, size etc... But that would also need a dataset or at least another annotation pass for all the ImageNet classes. $\endgroup$
    – sonovice
    Oct 31, 2020 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ The problem is to don't get a 3d view of the object, conceptually for rigid objects it you get a 3d image of it you can do a brute force search. $\endgroup$ Oct 31, 2020 at 22:58

1 Answer 1


I have put my initial idea to a test and used a small pretrained CNN (MobileNet) to compute features for reference images and stored the feature vectors in a "database". Query images go through the exact same network and the resulting feature vector is used for nearest neighbor retrieval in the DB.

from glob import glob

import torch
from PIL import Image
from numpy.linalg import norm
from torchvision import transforms
from torchvision.models import mobilenet_v2

model = mobilenet_v2(pretrained=True)

preprocess = transforms.Compose([
    transforms.Normalize(mean=[0.485, 0.456, 0.406], std=[0.229, 0.224, 0.225]),

# Generate DB
db = {}
dp_paths = glob('db/*.jpg')
for path in dp_paths:
    image = preprocess(Image.open(path)).unsqueeze(0)
    with torch.no_grad():
        output = model(image)
    db[output] = path

# Query
image = preprocess(Image.open('queries/box.jpg')).unsqueeze(0)
with torch.no_grad():
    query = model(image)

# Nearest Neighbor (poor man's version)
min_distance = float('inf')
candidate = None
for k, v in db.items():
    distance = norm(k.numpy() - query.numpy())
    if distance < min_distance:
        min_distance = distance
        candidate = v

print(candidate, min_distance)

At least with my 5 test reference images and several query images it worked without a single failed "classification". However, I am not sure if it will stand up to a larger test...


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .