A Deep Learning Based Light-Weight Face Mask Detector with Residual Context Attention and Gaussian Heatmap to Fight against COVID-19

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

View graph of relations

Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Article number9475521
Pages (from-to)96964-96974
Number of pages11
Journal / PublicationIEEE Access
Online published6 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021



Coronavirus disease 2019 has seriously affected the world. One major protective measure for individuals is to wear masks in public areas. Several regions applied a compulsory mask-wearing rule in public areas to prevent transmission of the virus. Few research studies have examined automatic face mask detection based on image analysis. In this paper, we propose a deep learning based single-shot light-weight face mask detector to meet the low computational requirements for embedded systems, as well as achieve high performance. To cope with the low feature extraction capability caused by the light-weight model, we propose two novel methods to enhance the model’s feature extraction process. First, to extract rich context information and focus on crucial face mask related regions, we propose a novel residual context attention module. Second, to learn more discriminating features for faces with and without masks, we introduce a novel auxiliary task using synthesized Gaussian heatmap regression. Ablation studies show that these methods can considerably boost the feature extraction ability and thus increase the final detection performance. Comparison with other models shows that the proposed model achieves state-of-the-art results on two public datasets, the AIZOO and Moxa3K face mask datasets. In particular, compared with another light-weight you only look once version 3 tiny model, the mean average precision of our model is 1.7% higher on the AIZOO dataset, and 10.47% higher on the Moxa3K dataset. Therefore, the proposed model has a high potential to contribute to public health care and fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Research Area(s)

  • Face mask detection, residual context attention, synthesized Gaussian heat map regression, coronavirus disease 2019

Download Statistics

No data available