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Home | DTI | 2008–09 funded proposals | Stephen Engel, Andrew Beall, Guillermo Sapiro, Paul Schrater

Initiatives in Digital Technology: 2008–09 Funded Proposals

Stephen Engel, Andrew Beall, Guillermo Sapiro, Paul Schrater

A System for Presenting Digitally Altered Reality

The goal of this proposal is to develop a system that places a layer of real-time image processing between people and the world in which they are living. Recent developments in wearable computing, graphics processors, and image processing algorithms, have converged to provide a unique opportunity to develop this technology. The systems components are a pair of headmounted cameras that feed to a wearable laptop computer that in turn drives a head-mounted display. Real-time computation will allow users to interact fully with a version of the natural world that has been image processed to either enhance or remove information from the environment. The system will be useful for many applications, and two initial proofs of concept will be developed in this proposal: 1) enhancement of face information for surveillance applications, and 2) enhancement and removal of oriented image structure for visual neuroscience experiments. The project includes a substantial industrial collaboration with WorldViz Inc., a current leader in Virtual and Augmented Reality solutions. Our Altered Reality system differs from these two existing approaches, which generally add computer-generated objects to images, by modifying information already present in the natural environment. The project cuts across many traditional disciplines: Knowledge of human vision will help specify what kind of information from the environment can be usefully enhanced or removed; Computer vision research will provide algorithms to perform these operations; High performance computing and software engineering will be drawn upon to optimize computing speed, and develop a unified software architecture upon which to build applications. This project should lead to commercial uses of the system as well as continuing funded research improving it and developing military and biomedical applications.