Background: Computer-Assisted Semen Analysis (CASA) enables reliable analysis of semen images, and is designed to process large number of images with high consistency, accuracy, and repeatability. Design and testing of CASA algorithms can be accelerated greatly if reliable simulations of semen images under a variety of conditions and sample quality modes are available. Using lifelike simulation of semen images can quantify the performance of existing and proposed CASA algorithms, since the parameters of the simulated image are known and controllable.
Methods: We present simulation models for sperm cell image and swimming modes observed in real 2D (top-down) images of sperm cells in laboratory specimen. The models simulate human sperm using four (4) types of swimming, namely linear mean, circular, hyperactive, and immotile (or dead).
Results: The simulation models are used in studying algorithms for segmentation, localization, and tracking of sperm cells. Several segmentation and localization algorithms were tested under varying levels of noise, and then compared using precision, recall, and the optimal subpattern assignment (OSPA) metric. Images of real human semen sample were used to validate the segmentation and localization observations obtained from simulations. An example is given of sperm cell tracking on simulated semen images of cells using the different tracking algorithms (nearest neighbor (NN), global nearest neighbor (GNN), probabilistic data association filter (PDAF), and joint probabilistic data association filter (JPDAF)). Tracking performance was evaluated through multi-object tracking precision (MOTP) and multi-object tracking accuracy (MOTA).
Conclusion: Simulation models enable objective assessments of semen image processing algorithms. We demonstrate the use of a new simulation tool to assess and compare segmentation, localization, and tracking methods. The simulation software allows testing along a large spectrum of parameter values that control the appearance and behavior of simulated semen images. Users can generate scenarios of different characteristics and assess the effectiveness of different CASA algorithms in these environments. The simulation was used to assess and compare algorithms for segmentation and tracking of sperm cells in semen images.