Virtualized Reality: Digitizing a 3D Time-Varying Real Event As Is and in Real Time

Takeo Kanade
The Robotics Institute
Carnegie Mellon University


I will present the CMU Virtualized Reality project. Digital imaging of two-dimensional pictures is common today. Capturing an entire 3D scene or even a time-varying event into a computer as a 3D form, however, is very difficult and rarely done. Imagine a few players playing basketball on a court. Can we digitize the whole scene into a computer as a "3D event", not as a collection of pictures, but as its three-dimensional, time-varying, and volumetric/surface representation? If we could do so, we can use the representation for various purposes. For example, we can think of a "soft" camera - creating images from any arbitrary viewpoints and angles at which there were not cameras originally. With a soft camera, one can see the basketball game from any view point independent of physical limitations or other viewers' interest: from inside of the court, from the referee's point of view, or even from the ball's eye point of view. Image rendering, however, is not the only application. We can archive, manipulate, combine, and alter real events - a whole new notion of "event archiving and manipulation" or "Virtualized Reality".

Since 1993, we have been developing Virtualized Reality technologies with the 3D Room - a fully digital room that can capture events occurring in it by many (at this moment 50) video cameras. I will describe the theory, facility, computation, and results of the project.

About the Speaker

Takeo Kanade received his Doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering from Kyoto University, Japan, in 1974. After holding a faculty position at Department of Information Science, Kyoto University, he joined Carnegie Mellon University in 1980, where he is currently Director of the Robotics Institute and U. A. Helen Whitaker University Professor of Computer Science. Dr. Kanade has performed research in multiple areas of robotics: vision, manipulators, autonomous mobile robots, and sensors, and has written more than 150 technical papers and 10 patents.

Dr. Kanade has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of ACM, and a Founding Fellow of American Association of Artificial Intelligence. He has received several awards, including the Joseph Engelberger Award, JARA Award, and a few best paper awards at international conferences and journals. Dr. Kanade has served for many government, industry, and university advisory boards, including Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) of National Research Council and Advisory Board of Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
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Last modified: Tue Sep 21 18:59:46 PDT 1999