Steklov Spectral Geometry for Extrinsic Shape Analysis

by   Yu Wang, et al.

We propose using the Dirichlet-to-Neumann operator as an extrinsic alternative to the Laplacian for spectral geometry processing and shape analysis. Intrinsic approaches, usually based on the Laplace-Beltrami operator, cannot capture the spatial embedding of a shape up to rigid motion, and many previous extrinsic methods lack theoretical justification. Instead, we consider the Steklov eigenvalue problem, computing the spectrum of the Dirichlet-to-Neumann operator of a surface bounding a volume. A remarkable property of this operator is that it completely encodes volumetric geometry. We use the boundary element method (BEM) to discretize the operator, accelerated by hierarchical numerical schemes and preconditioning; this pipeline allows us to solve eigenvalue and linear problems on large-scale meshes despite the density of the Dirichlet-to-Neumann discretization. We further demonstrate that our operators naturally fit into existing frameworks for geometry processing, making a shift from intrinsic to extrinsic geometry as simple as substituting the Laplace-Beltrami operator with the Dirichlet-to-Neumann operator.


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