This paper presents a novel framework for the fusion of multi-focus images explicitly designed for visual sensor network (VSN) environments. Multi-scale based fusion methods can often obtain fused images with good visual effect. However, because of the defects of the fusion rules, it is almost impossible to completely avoid the loss of useful information in the thus obtained fused images. The proposed fusion scheme can be divided into two processes: initial fusion and final fusion. The initial fusion is based on a dual-tree complex wavelet transform (DTCWT). The Sum-Modified-Laplacian (SML)-based visual contrast and SML are employed to fuse the low- and high-frequency coefficients, respectively, and an initial composited image is obtained. In the final fusion process, the image block residuals technique and consistency verification are used to detect the focusing areas and then a decision map is obtained. The map is used to guide how to achieve the final fused image. The performance of the proposed method was extensively tested on a number of multi-focus images, including no-referenced images, referenced images, and images with different noise levels. The experimental results clearly indicate that the proposed method outperformed various state-of-the-art fusion methods, in terms of both subjective and objective evaluations, and is more suitable for VSNs.
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