Friday, June 17, 2005

Ubiquitous Video Feed

Computer scientists at University of California, San Diego have developed software to stitch together video sources to create the effect of a flying observer.
Called "RealityFlythrough" the software combines seperate sources into one moving video source.

This would be amazing if it could combine all the survellience cameras along the streets and businesses today.

A possible future for picture phones is that you can pan in on the person talking to you through the public cameras around them. For a sort of over-the-shoulder look. This would be preferable than the view of their face peering through the little window at you.

This software would help make that possible. You wouldn't need to know the IP address of the local cameras, just the location of the caller. You could glance around to see how's the weather, who else is there?

From the UCSD press release:

“Instead of watching all the feeds simultaneously on a bank of monitors, the viewer can navigate an integrated, interactive environment as if it were a video game,” said UCSD computer science and engineering professor Bill Griswold, who is working on the project with Ph.D. candidate Neil McCurdy. “RealityFlythrough creates the illusion of complete live camera coverage in a physical space. It’s a new form of situational awareness, and we designed a system that can work in unforgiving environments with intermittent network connectivity.”

The UCSD researchers say the biggest research challenge was to overcome the limitation of incomplete coverage of live video streams. “Every square meter of a space cannot be viewed from every angle with a live video stream at any given moment,” said Griswold, an academic participant in the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). “We had to find a way to fill in the empty space that would give the user a sense of how the video streams relate to one another spatially.”

Their solution: RealityFlythrough fills in the gaps in coverage with the most recent still images captured during camera pans. The software then blends the imagery with smooth transitions that simulate the sensation of a human performing a walking camera pan – even when one of the images is a still-frame. If older images are not desirable (e.g. in some security applications), the fill-in images can be omitted, or shown in sepia, or include an icon displaying how old the photo is.

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