Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Extreme makeover: computer science edition

17.11.2008
Suppose you have a cherished home video, taken at your birthday party. You're fond of the video, but your viewing experience is marred by one small, troubling detail.

There in the video, framed and hanging on the living room wall amidst the celebration, is a color photograph of your former significant other.

Bummer.

But what if you could somehow reach inside the video and swap the offending photo for a snapshot of your current love? How perfect would that be?

A group of Stanford University researchers specializing in artificial intelligence have developed software that makes such a switch relatively simple. The researchers, computer science graduate students Ashutosh Saxena and Siddharth Batra, and Assistant Professor Andrew Ng, see interesting potential for the technology they call ZunaVision.

They say a user of the software can easily plunk an image on almost any planar surface in a video, whether wall, floor or ceiling. And the embedded images don't have to be still photos—you can insert a video inside a video.

Here's the opportunity to sing karaoke side-by-side with your favorite American Idol celebrity and post the video to YouTube. Or preview a virtual copy of a painting on your wall before you buy. Or liven up those dull vacation videos.

There is also a potential financial aspect to the technology. The researchers suggest that anyone with a video camera might earn some spending money by agreeing to have unobtrusive corporate logos placed inside their videos before they are posted online. The person who shot the video, and the company handling the business arrangements, would be paid per view, in a fashion analogous to Google AdSense, which pays websites to run small ads.

The embedding technology is driven by an algorithm that first analyzes the video, with special attention paid to the section of the scene where the new image will be placed. The color, texture and lighting of the new image are subtly altered to blend in with the surroundings. Shadows seen in the original video will be seen in the added image as well. The result is a photo or video that appears to be an integral part of the original scene, rather than a sticker pasted artificially on the video.

For the algorithm ("3D Surface Tracker Technology") to produce these realistic results, it also must deal with what researchers call "occluding objects" in the video. In our birthday video, an "occluding object" might be a partygoer walking in front of the newly hung photo. The algorithm can handle most such objects by keeping track of which pixels belong to the photo and which belong to the person walking in the foreground; the photo disappears behind the person walking by and then reappears, just as in the original video.

Camera motion gives the algorithm another item to digest. As the camera pans and zooms, the portion of the wall containing the embedded object moves and changes shape. The embedded image must keep up with this shape-shifting geometry, or the video may go one direction while the embedded image goes another.

To prevent such mishaps, the algorithm builds a model, pixel by pixel, of the area of interest in the video. "If the lighting begins to change with the motion of the video or the sun or the shadows, we keep a belief of what it will look like in the next frame. This is how we track with very high sub-pixel accuracy," Batra said. It's as if the embedded image makes an educated guess of where the wall is going next, and hurries to keep up.

Other technologies can perform these tricks—witness the spectacular special effects in movies and the virtual first-down lines on televised football games—but the Stanford researchers say the existing systems are expensive, time consuming and require considerable expertise.

Some of the recent Stanford work grew out of an earlier project, Make3D, a website that converts a single still photograph into a brief 3D video. It works by finding planes in the photo and computing their distance from the camera, relative to each other.

"That means, given a single image, our algorithm can figure out which parts are in the front and which parts are in the background," said Saxena. "Now we have extended this technology to videos."

The researchers realize that their technology will be used in unpredictable ways, but they have some guesses. "Suppose you're a student living in a dorm and suppose you want to show it to your parents [in a video]. You can put a nice poster there of Albert Einstein," Batra said. "But if you want to show it to your friends, you can have a Playboy poster there."

A hands-on demonstration of the technology can be seen at http://zunavision.stanford.edu.

Dan Stober | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://zunavision.stanford.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht The TU Ilmenau develops tomorrow’s chip technology today
27.04.2017 | Technische Universität Ilmenau

nachricht Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>