Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Teleconferencing Becomes Clearer By VIRTUE Of EU Funding

23.10.2003


Businesses throughout the UK and Europe should soon be able to reduce their travel costs thanks to improvements in the quality of teleconferencing made possible by a grant of almost €2.5 million from the Information Society Technology (IST) Programme of the European Union’s Fifth Framework Programme (FP5).



The VIRTUE (Virtual Team User Environment) project concentrated on improving the quality aspects of video conferencing and the results look set to revolutionise future technology. The VIRTUE Team developed a semi-tele-immersion system where life-size 3D video images of the upper body combine with real-time images, in a shared virtual environment. This enables users to gesture and interact much more naturally than other video conferencing systems allow.

"Imagine you are at a meeting table with people spaced around in front of you” says Michael Jewell, project co-ordinator for British Telecommunications, the lead partner in the project. “You are able to communicate with them effectively as if they were sitting next to you in the same room; in fact, you are led to believe they are present in the same room - but they are actually in several remote places. For many types of meeting this high-realism telepresence conferencing system will replace the need to travel. VIRTUE will make this happen in Europe."


The prototype comprises of a desk with a large plasma screen and four cameras mounted around it. A maximum of three users can hold a conference where the speaker sits in front of the screen and real images from the mounted cameras merge with a virtual background using image-processing software.

“This gives the impression of on-screen images coming from virtual cameras behind the screens” adds Michael Jewell. “As a result, users can view each other more naturally, with realistic eye contact and the individual’s viewpoint even changes as users move about the shared meeting environment.”

The project has developed a powerful video conferencing system and the results will benefit European research objectives as well as the individual partners.

“The success of the VIRTUE project shows what can be achieved with effective research and development collaboration by organisations throughout Europe, with the help of EU funding” says Peter Walters, UK National Contact Point for IST. “FP5 funding contributed more than half of the overall cost of the project, so it seems fair to assume that without it the project may not have been possible.”

Project partners have taken away positive experiences and concrete technological developments, which they plan to continue to work on now that the project has ended.

Michael Jewell is positive about the future of the technology, adding “I believe there are lots of possibilities for us to take forward the partnerships established through VIRTUE, ranging from the further development of the technology to getting together to discuss ideas for future commercialisation."

Although excellent research results have come out of this project, additional modifications will be necessary before commercialisation is possible, such as including new technologies emerging since VIRTUE began in 1999 and addressing interoperability issues.

To really be commercial, VIRTUE recognises that the technology must be usable for bigger group meetings. The system operates with a maximum of three people at present and each one needs access to a terminal.

Other design possibilities are being considered by project partners before VIRTUE develop the technology for the commercial market.

A positive and encouraging aspect of the technology used by VIRTUE is that equipment prices have dropped and capabilities have increased over the life of the project. The cost of the plasma screens has dropped by about 50%, for example, whilst computing power has increased particularly with respect to processing speed. Reliance was initially placed on Intel Pentium II technology whereas today, Intel Pentium IV technology is widely available. Reductions in cost combined with increased hardware capabilities will, with the design possibilities being considered, provide the basis for future commercial propositions.

Dave Sanders | alfa

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht More focus and comfort at telephone workstations
20.02.2020 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

nachricht New cruise ship “Mein Schiff 1” features Fraunhofer 3D sound on board
05.09.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A step towards controlling spin-dependent petahertz electronics by material defects

The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.

Light waves perform several hundred trillion oscillations per second. Hence, it is natural to envision employing light oscillations to drive the electronic...

Im Focus: Freiburg researcher investigate the origins of surface texture

Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.

Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...

Im Focus: Skyrmions like it hot: Spin structures are controllable even at high temperatures

Investigation of the temperature dependence of the skyrmion Hall effect reveals further insights into possible new data storage devices

The joint research project of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that had previously demonstrated...

Im Focus: Making the internet more energy efficient through systemic optimization

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently completed a 5-year research project looking at how to make fibre optic communications systems more energy efficient. Among their proposals are smart, error-correcting data chip circuits, which they refined to be 10 times less energy consumptive. The project has yielded several scientific articles, in publications including Nature Communications.

Streaming films and music, scrolling through social media, and using cloud-based storage services are everyday activities now.

Im Focus: New synthesis methods enhance 3D chemical space for drug discovery

After helping develop a new approach for organic synthesis -- carbon-hydrogen functionalization -- scientists at Emory University are now showing how this approach may apply to drug discovery. Nature Catalysis published their most recent work -- a streamlined process for making a three-dimensional scaffold of keen interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

"Our tools open up whole new chemical space for potential drug targets," says Huw Davies, Emory professor of organic chemistry and senior author of the paper.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting: Around 70 Laureates set to meet with young scientists from approx. 100 countries

12.02.2020 | Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Active droplets

21.02.2020 | Medical Engineering

Finding new clues to brain cancer treatment

21.02.2020 | Health and Medicine

Beyond the brim, Sombrero Galaxy's halo suggests turbulent past

21.02.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>