Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers find way to make internet video more appealing

21.12.2004


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:
http://www.osu.edu

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht New Technologies for A/V Analysis and Search
13.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

nachricht On patrol in social networks
25.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>