the pixels in an image are weighted with their intensity. we try to fit a pre-defined number of connected (partially overlapping) ellipses onto this image, using gmdistribution.fit from matlab's statistics toolbox.
i used this to separate ellipse-shaped objects (with a size of ~20 to 30 pixels per object) in a movie, when they come too close to simply 'blob' them apart.
see descriptions in exampleFindEllipses.m (example...
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