UCSD Develops Ubiquitious Video for 3D Environments


San Diego, CA, June 7, 2005 -- Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego have taken the wraps off a new technique for mixing images and video feeds from mobile cameras in the field to provide remote viewers with a virtual window into a physical environment. Dubbed 'RealityFlythrough,' the application constructs a 3D virtual environment dynamically out of the live video streams.

"Instead of watching all the feeds simultaneously on a bank of monitors, the viewer can navigate an integrated, interactive environment as if it were a video game," said UCSD computer science and engineering professor Bill Griswold, who is working on the project with Ph.D. candidate Neil McCurdy. "RealityFlythrough creates the illusion of complete live camera coverage in a physical space. It's a new form of situational awareness, and we designed a system that can work in unforgiving environments with intermittent network connectivity."

The researchers at UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering have already begun testing the software for homeland security and emergency response, but they say that the technology has other potential consumer uses as well. "With virtual tourism, for instance, you could walk down the streets of Bangkok to see what it will be like before getting there," said McCurdy. "Another really cool application is pre-drive driving instructions. Imagine going to your favorite mapping website, where currently you get a set of instructions to turn left here or right there, and instead, you can 'fly' through the drive before doing it."