TensorFlow Lite Android image classification example

This document walks through the code of a simple Android mobile application that demonstrates image classification using the device camera.

The application code is located in the Tensorflow examples repository, along with instructions for building and deploying the app.

Example application

Explore the code

We're now going to walk through the most important parts of the sample code.

Get camera input

This mobile application gets the camera input using the functions defined in the file CameraActivity.java. This file depends on AndroidManifest.xml to set the camera orientation.

CameraActivity also contains code to capture user preferences from the UI and make them available to other classes via convenience methods.

model = Model.valueOf(modelSpinner.getSelectedItem().toString().toUpperCase());
device = Device.valueOf(deviceSpinner.getSelectedItem().toString());
numThreads = Integer.parseInt(threadsTextView.getText().toString().trim());


The file Classifier.java contains most of the complex logic for processing the camera input and running inference.

Two subclasses of the file exist, in ClassifierFloatMobileNet.java and ClassifierQuantizedMobileNet.java, to demonstrate the use of both floating point and quantized models.

The Classifier class implements a static method, create, which is used to instantiate the appropriate subclass based on the supplied model type (quantized vs floating point).

Load model and create interpreter

To perform inference, we need to load a model file and instantiate an Interpreter. This happens in the constructor of the Classifier class, along with loading the list of class labels. Information about the device type and number of threads is used to configure the Interpreter via the Interpreter.Options instance passed into its constructor. Note how that in the case of a GPU being available, a Delegate is created using GpuDelegateHelper.

protected Classifier(Activity activity, Device device, int numThreads) throws IOException {
  tfliteModel = loadModelFile(activity);
  switch (device) {
    case NNAPI:
    case GPU:
      gpuDelegate = GpuDelegateHelper.createGpuDelegate();
    case CPU:
  tflite = new Interpreter(tfliteModel, tfliteOptions);
  labels = loadLabelList(activity);

For Android devices, we recommend pre-loading and memory mapping the model file to offer faster load times and reduce the dirty pages in memory. The method loadModelFile does this, returning a MappedByteBuffer containing the model.

private MappedByteBuffer loadModelFile(Activity activity) throws IOException {
  AssetFileDescriptor fileDescriptor = activity.getAssets().openFd(getModelPath());
  FileInputStream inputStream = new FileInputStream(fileDescriptor.getFileDescriptor());
  FileChannel fileChannel = inputStream.getChannel();
  long startOffset = fileDescriptor.getStartOffset();
  long declaredLength = fileDescriptor.getDeclaredLength();
  return fileChannel.map(FileChannel.MapMode.READ_ONLY, startOffset, declaredLength);

The MappedByteBuffer is passed into the Interpreter constructor, along with an Interpreter.Options object. This object can be used to configure the interpreter, for example by setting the number of threads (.setNumThreads(1)) or enabling NNAPI (.setUseNNAPI(true)).

Pre-process bitmap image

Next in the Classifier constructor, we take the input camera bitmap image and convert it to a ByteBuffer format for efficient processing. We pre-allocate the memory for the ByteBuffer object based on the image dimensions because Bytebuffer objects can't infer the object shape.

The ByteBuffer represents the image as a 1D array with three bytes per channel (red, green, and blue). We call order(ByteOrder.nativeOrder()) to ensure bits are stored in the device's native order.

imgData =
      * getImageSizeX()
      * getImageSizeY()
      * getNumBytesPerChannel());

The code in convertBitmapToByteBuffer pre-processes the incoming bitmap images from the camera to this ByteBuffer. It calls the method addPixelValue to add each set of pixel values to the ByteBuffer sequentially.

bitmap.getPixels(intValues, 0, bitmap.getWidth(), 0, 0, bitmap.getWidth(), bitmap.getHeight());
// Convert the image to floating point.
int pixel = 0;
for (int i = 0; i < getImageSizeX(); ++i) {
  for (int j = 0; j < getImageSizeY(); ++j) {
    final int val = intValues[pixel++];

In ClassifierQuantizedMobileNet, addPixelValue is overridden to put a single byte for each channel. The bitmap contains an encoded color for each pixel in ARGB format, so we need to mask the least significant 8 bits to get blue, and next 8 bits to get green and next 8 bits to get blue. Since we have an opaque image, alpha can be ignored.

protected void addPixelValue(int pixelValue) {
  imgData.put((byte) ((pixelValue >> 16) & 0xFF));
  imgData.put((byte) ((pixelValue >> 8) & 0xFF));
  imgData.put((byte) (pixelValue & 0xFF));

For ClassifierFloatMobileNet, we must provide a floating point number for each channel where the value is between 0 and 1. To do this, we mask out each color channel as before, but then divide each resulting value by 255.f.

protected void addPixelValue(int pixelValue) {
  imgData.putFloat(((pixelValue >> 16) & 0xFF) / 255.f);
  imgData.putFloat(((pixelValue >> 8) & 0xFF) / 255.f);
  imgData.putFloat((pixelValue & 0xFF) / 255.f);

Run inference

The method that runs inference, runInference, is implemented by each subclass of Classifier. In ClassifierQuantizedMobileNet, the method looks as follows:

protected void runInference() {
  tflite.run(imgData, labelProbArray);

The output of the inference is stored in a byte array labelProbArray, which is allocated in the subclass's constructor. It consists of a single outer element, containing one innner element for each label in the classification model.

To run inference, we call run() on the interpreter instance, passing the input and output buffers as arguments.

Recognize image

Rather than call runInference directly, the method recognizeImage is used. It accepts a bitmap, runs inference, and returns a sorted List of Recognition instances, each corresponding to a label. The method will return a number of results bounded by MAX_RESULTS, which is 3 by default.

Recognition is a simple class that contains information about a specific recognition result, including its title and confidence.

A PriorityQueue is used for sorting. Each Classifier subclass has a getNormalizedProbability method, which is expected to return a probability between 0 and 1 of a given class being represented by the image.

PriorityQueue<Recognition> pq =
  new PriorityQueue<Recognition>(
    new Comparator<Recognition>() {
      public int compare(Recognition lhs, Recognition rhs) {
        // Intentionally reversed to put high confidence at the head of the queue.
        return Float.compare(rhs.getConfidence(), lhs.getConfidence());
for (int i = 0; i < labels.size(); ++i) {
    new Recognition(
      "" + i,
      labels.size() > i ? labels.get(i) : "unknown",

Display results

The classifier is invoked and inference results are displayed by the processImage() function in ClassifierActivity.java.

ClassifierActivity is a subclass of CameraActivity that contains method implementations that render the camera image, run classification, and display the results. The method processImage() runs classification on a background thread as fast as possible, rendering information on the UI thread to avoid blocking inference and creating latency.

protected void processImage() {
  rgbFrameBitmap.setPixels(getRgbBytes(), 0, previewWidth, 0, 0, previewWidth, previewHeight);
  final Canvas canvas = new Canvas(croppedBitmap);
  canvas.drawBitmap(rgbFrameBitmap, frameToCropTransform, null);

      new Runnable() {
        public void run() {
          if (classifier != null) {
            final long startTime = SystemClock.uptimeMillis();
            final List<Classifier.Recognition> results = classifier.recognizeImage(croppedBitmap);
            lastProcessingTimeMs = SystemClock.uptimeMillis() - startTime;
            LOGGER.v("Detect: %s", results);
            cropCopyBitmap = Bitmap.createBitmap(croppedBitmap);

                new Runnable() {
                  public void run() {
                    showFrameInfo(previewWidth + "x" + previewHeight);
                    showCropInfo(cropCopyBitmap.getWidth() + "x" + cropCopyBitmap.getHeight());
                    showCameraResolution(canvas.getWidth() + "x" + canvas.getHeight());
                    showInference(lastProcessingTimeMs + "ms");

Another important role of ClassifierActivity is to determine user preferences (by interrogating CameraActivity), and instantiate the appropriately configured Classifier subclass. This happens when the video feed begins (via onPreviewSizeChosen()) and when options are changed in the UI (via onInferenceConfigurationChanged()).

private void recreateClassifier(Model model, Device device, int numThreads) {
    if (classifier != null) {
      LOGGER.d("Closing classifier.");
      classifier = null;
    if (device == Device.GPU) {
      if (!GpuDelegateHelper.isGpuDelegateAvailable()) {
        LOGGER.d("Not creating classifier: GPU support unavailable.");
            () -> {
              Toast.makeText(this, "GPU acceleration unavailable.", Toast.LENGTH_LONG).show();
      } else if (model == Model.QUANTIZED && device == Device.GPU) {
        LOGGER.d("Not creating classifier: GPU doesn't support quantized models.");
            () -> {
                      this, "GPU does not yet supported quantized models.", Toast.LENGTH_LONG)
    try {
          "Creating classifier (model=%s, device=%s, numThreads=%d)", model, device, numThreads);
      classifier = Classifier.create(this, model, device, numThreads);
    } catch (IOException e) {
      LOGGER.e(e, "Failed to create classifier.");