This story is from the category Display Technology
Date posted: 03/02/2005
Live TV outside broadcasts that combine real action and computer-generated images could become possible for the first time, thanks to camera navigation technology now under development.
Real-Time Camera Localisation in Real Environments is a 3-year long project, by Dr Ian Reid and Dr Andrew Davison of Oxford University's Department of Engineering Science. Funded by from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), nearly ?255,000 has been dedicated to the task of combining live signal feeds with CGI to create augmented reality images.
The work is opening up the prospect of outdoor sporting, musical or other TV coverage that blends the excitement of being live with the spectacular visual impact that computer graphics can create. It can also be applied for consumer reality augmentation ? for example, AR games, in which the creatures clamber over the furniture in your room, yet never sink into it, no matter where you turn the camera.
The system is able to work out in real-time where a camera is and how it is moving, simultaneously constructing a detailed visual map of its surroundings. This enables computer graphics to be overlaid accurately onto live pictures as soon as they are produced. Previously the blending of live action and computer-generated images has only been possible in controlled studio environments.
To do this, first a video camera is swept over a scene, as demonstrated by this room with wall protrusions, lots of floor clutter, and plenty of pictures on the walls toprovide texture distraction.
The camera is connected directly to a small source of processing power - a laptop computer. This analyses the images it receives using bespoke software developed by the researchers.
Dr Andrew Davison was quoted as saying "This localisation and mapping technology turns a camera into a flexible, real-time position sensor. It has all kinds of potential applications."
Indeed, there are many potential uses of this system, from TV actors seeing their computer graphic colleagues standing next to them, to AR gaming, general life through augmented reality, etc.
Robotic vision systems may also benefit from this technology, as it shows them where they can, and can not navigate in a 3D area.
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