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Being There - Without Going

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Moving beyond virtual reality

Pioneering efforts in image processing are opening up new horizons that could allow users to explore foreign lands without ever leaving the comfort of their own home.

Digital Economy

The ability to experience a specific place without actually being there has long intrigued researchers. New techniques, such as Image-based rendering (IBR), offer the promise of moving beyond conventional virtual reality to a more realistic three-dimensional environment that can be experienced in real-time. The Information Society Technologies Programme supported a number of important research projects in this field, including BENOGO. Computer vision specialists with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel developed a new, powerful IBR algorithm during the project. A series of photographs shot from different positions within the scene are required as input. A model of the scene is then constructed in which every point can be defined by a ray connecting two slits, known as the X-Slits projection. This information can subsequently be exploited to generate views from any number of paths through the scene. The main advantage of the new algorithm is its speed, which allows it to deliver high quality images of photographic quality in real-time. This feature makes the new technology suitable for a wide range of application areas. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and its BENOGO partners are planning further research accordingly.

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