Soon, better real-time videoconferencing via cell phones, laptops

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Washington, May 10 (ANI): Cell phones and laptops may soon be using a new videoconferencing technology that creates the appearance of three-dimensionality and a strong sense of co-presence without the use of expensive motion-tracking devices or multi-camera arrays, if University of Virginia researchers have their way.

Timothy Brick, a research who will make a presentation on the new low-bandwidth technology at the International Workshop on Image Analysis for Multimedia Interactive Services in London, says that it may make high-frame-rate videoconferencing readily and inexpensively available to nearly anyone with small, portable communication devices, possibly within two to three years.

Current systems for small devices offer only low-frame rates, resulting in jerky images and a loss of the sense of "co-presence" between participants.

The new system instead uses motion parallax, a 3-D simulation created by rotating a 3-D model of a user's face based on the angle of the person viewing the image.

"Motion parallax provides a greater sense of personal connection between users than other approaches, and we are able to create this effect without the need for expensive displays, multi-camera arrays or elaborate motion capture equipment, potentially making this technology available to nearly anyone with a handheld communication device," Brick said.

"This method makes possible near-photorealistic video-conferencing for small devices, and it has the potential to revolutionize online gaming industry animation technology, as well as other media applications," Brick added.

The new system allows people to converse in near real-time, while each makes direct eye contact with the other. The effect is a more lifelike conversation featuring all the normal nuances of facial expression.

The researchers believe that it may revolutionize videoconferencing for small devices. (ANI)

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