New system lets drivers see through walls

Posted By: Staff
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London, Oct 24 (ANI): Scientists have developed an augmented reality system that allows drivers to see through walls, making blind corners and other dangerous road junctions visible.

Yaser Sheikh of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, said that prototype uses two cameras - one that captures the driver's view and a second that sees the scene behind a view-blocking wall.

A computer takes the feed from the second camera and layers it on top of the images from the first so that the wall appears to be transparent, says Sheikh, adding that this makes it simple to glance 'through' a wall to see what's going on behind it.

He said that the techniques, however, needed to combine them were challenging to develop.

The view of the hidden scene needs to be skewed so that it looks as if it were being viewed from the position of the person using the system.

The system does this by spotting landmarks seen by both cameras.

Sheikh and his colleagues also had to develop software that transforms moving objects in the images to avoid distortion.

Ultimately, the team wants to build the system into a car. An onboard video processor would tune into a wireless feed from a roadside camera with a view of the hidden scene, such as a stretch of road behind a blind corner, and project the image of the hidden scene onto the windscreen rather than a monitor.

Denso, a car parts manufacturer based in Kariya, Japan, has funded the project.

Shiekh says that such a network could be supplemented by images from cameras mounted on many cars.

He and his colleagues are working on software that integrates feeds in footage from such sources into the system.

However, Bruce Thomas of the University of South Australia in Adelaide said that several formidable hurdles would have to be cleared before the technology can be used on public highways.

Fast, powerful data processing and communication would be required to make the system work usefully in a moving car in real time.I'm not saying it's impossible. But I don't see it in a car anytime soon," New Scientist quoted Thomas as saying.

The system was presented at the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality in Orlando, Florida, this week. (ANI)

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