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Ubiquitous Video

Ubiquitous computing is a concept of computers fading into the background of the applications they are running.

Ubiquitous video, is likewise, the use of data streamed from video without the perception of the presence of video cameras.

This is achieved by having clusters of networked cameras in the real world, transmitting their feeds back to a central source.

If all these streams are viewed simultaneously, the information would overload the viewer. The answer, is to use these feeds to provide a virtual environment in which the viewer can be immersed.


How Ubiquitous Video Works

Assuming an infinite number of cameras, and interpreting the location of the user,

Immerse the user in the environment, having them move from camera to camera. As the user changes position or direction in the environment, the appropriate camera feeds are changed to provide the user relative imaging. The user needs to be able to move naturally through the environment, as if they were present in the real environment. They should see an accurate rendering of the environment from any point in space. This needs abstraction, having a camera at every point of orientation.

One application that makes this possible in Reality FlyThrough.


Reality FlyThrough

Realityflythrough is a telepresence/tele-reality system that works in the dynamic, uncalibrated environments typically associated with ubiquitous computing.

By harnessing networked mobile video cameras, it allows a user to remotely and immersively explore a physical space.

RealityFlythrough creates the illusion of complete live camera coverage in a physical environment.

This video describes the architecture of RealityFlythrough, and evaluates it along three dimensions:

  1. its support of the abstractions for infinite camera coverage,
  2. its scalability, and
  3. its robustness to changing user requirements

An Abstraction for Ubiquitous Video[8:17]



Having an infinite number of cameras is not feasible, however, by having a high number of cameras, the application is able to interpolate between the camera views to create 'novel' views. This is known as Telereality. Accurate telereality requires the precise location of the cameras and the optical properties of the camera lenses. The outcome is the virtualization of cameras, the perception that there are cameras located in every location directed at every perspective.


Building A Ubiquitous Video Environment

Reality FlyThrough creates this illusion of infinite camera coverage. This is created by:

  1. Simplify three-dimensional space
  2. If you know the location and orientation in the real space, you can create a representation of this camera in the corresponding position in virtual space.
  3. Project the image onto a virtual wall which is located some distance away from the camera.
  4. When the users virtual position matches that of the camera, the entire screen is covered with the image. This results in a 2D simplification of the 3D space. Near objects are pushed out on to the image plane, and distant objects pulled in to the image plane.
  5. As the user moves, the users location is moved from the point of location of the source camera, to the point of location of the destination camera, whlist the virtual walls are displayed in perspective.
  6. The overlapping portions of the image are blended using the alpha blend.
  7. Transitions are using motion as a substitute for infinite cameras. This works due to the human ability to make sense of incomplete information. Our visual cortex is able to smoothly interlace inaccurate images to blend into an accurate image.
  8. By only selecting new images, when the current images are no longer in view, the human transition is more able to process the multiple streams of data.


Uses For Ubiquitous Video

There are many potential uses for ubiquitous video, for example:

  • Remote exploration
  • First response information from head mounted video cameras of first responders. This data can be fed back to central command, to give them significantly more information on disaster sites than is currently provided.
  • Virtual tourism - maintaining databases of tourists photos, videos and live web feeds
  • Real Estate Walk Throughs -
  • Driving Directions
  • Watching Sports Games
  • Virtual Shopping
  • Virtual Mobility - for the disabled, giving them a sense of the experience enjoyed by fully ambulatory users.

NEXT: Mobile Ubiquitous Computing

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