Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers find way to make internet video more appealing


Jay Leno’s comedy routines are helping to advance technologies for distance learning on the Internet.

Ohio State University engineers are using video recordings of Leno and other TV personalities to test software that transmits more information in an Internet video using less bandwidth.

One of the obstacles to distance learning on the Internet is the difficulty with viewing lectures, explained James Davis, professor of computer science and engineering at Ohio State. A high-resolution video of a speaker takes too long to download, but a low-resolution video makes fine details such as the speaker’s face and hands appear fuzzy.

“When we communicate, we say a lot with our face and hands,” Davis said. “Our voice, gestures, and facial expressions are all intertwined. If I’m watching a lecture and I’m trying to learn something, I need to be able to see the speaker’s face and hands.”

He and his students have created software that zeroes in on a speaker’s face and gesturing hands and sharpens the image in just those spots, while slightly lowering the resolution of the rest of the image. In that way, the final video communicates more information without increasing bandwidth.

In a recent issue of the journal Computer Vision and Image Understanding, Davis and former undergraduate student Robin Tan reported that the software worked successfully in initial tests. The engineers were able to enhance a speaker’s face and gesturing hands without increasing bandwidth, and -- not surprisingly -- users greatly preferred viewing the enhanced video stream.

Davis and Tan inserted their algorithms into a publicly available MPEG encoder -- the software that compresses video for efficient digital transmission on the Internet -- and an MPEG decoder that converts the digital signal back to video so a user can view it on their computer.

For the test, five volunteers watched three short video sequences: one taken from an educational lecture on public television; one from the opening monologue of “Saturday Night Live,” featuring actor Leslie Nielsen; and one taken from a Jay Leno monologue on “The Tonight Show.”

Using a typical computer monitor, they watched the enhanced video and the unenhanced video side-by-side.

The unenhanced version was typical of what most people see when they try to watch video over the Internet -- pixelated and blurry. The enhanced version featured clearer visuals of the speaker’s face and gesturing hands, with a slightly lower-quality background than in the unenhanced video. For both versions, the number of kilobytes of data per frame was kept constant, so they both required the same amount of bandwidth for transmission.

All five volunteers immediately picked the enhanced video as their favorite.

Davis was motivated to pursue this work several years ago, when he was a research assistant in the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, he interacted with researchers that studied video of Leno and others in order to better understand how people use speech and gestures in communication.

He took note of patterns in gestures, such as Leno’s technique of opening his hands to the audience when he delivers a punch line. A “pounding” gesture is also common, when speakers are trying to make a point, he said.

The hard part was enabling the software to recognize these hand gestures. He and Tan wrote those algorithms at Ohio State, and combined them with other algorithms to track a speaker’s face and hands as they moved.

In the future, Davis plans to incorporate algorithms that can track the movements of multiple speakers at once. He also wants to selectively enhance background objects, such as whiteboards, when they are used in a lecture.

This study was funded in part by the National Science Foundation and Intel. Tan was supported by an Undergraduate Research Scholar award from Ohio State’s College of Engineering.

James Davis | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht High Number of Science Enthusiasts in Switzerland
05.02.2018 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Between filter bubbles, uneven visibility and transnationality
06.12.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>