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Digital Stereoscopic Imaging & Applications

Objective

The objectives of DISTIMA are to prove the usefulness of stereoscopic TV in several applications (TV processing, medical imaging, quality control and remote handling); to demonstrate the possibility of transmitting such sequences via an ATM network; and to develop powerful new algorithms for the analysis, coding, decoding and transmission of stereoscopic sequences.
The objective of the research were:
to prove the usefulness of stereoscopic television (TV) in several applications (TV processing, medical imaging, quality control and remote handling);
to demonstrate the possibility of transmitting such sequences via an asynchronous (ATM) network;
to develop powerful new algorithms for the analysis, coding, decoding and transmission of stereoscopic sequences.

Key issues in the research were:
the transmission of stereoscopic sequences over integrated broadband communications (IBC) that are compatible with is TV;
the improvement of different applications through the use of 3-dimensional TV.

Several preliminary results have been achieved in the area of human factors:
minimum screen size;
maximum disparity;
disparity cutoff frequencies, binocular masking.

The currently defined moving picture expert group (MPEG-2) test model 2 serves as the basis for the stereoscopic coder decoder (codec). The left channel is coded independently of the right channel in order to guarantee backward compatibility with MPEG encoded monoscopic video signals. The right channel is coded using a combined motion and disparity based prediction. A number of block based disparity estimation algorithms have been implemented and evaluated to support coding and applications. For second generation algorithms, motion estimation based on a model of 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional objects was also examined. The initial design specifications for the camera and display have been completed.
Technical Approach

Reflecting the objectives of the project, the technical approach divides into three main parts:

- Software development, including human factors, 3D-image-analysis, encoding/decoding schemes and transmission aspects.
- Hardware development, including camera, codec, display and test and evaluation.
- Applications.

Activities on human factors research will include investigations into optimum viewing conditions (viewing distance, screen size, etc), and also possible irrelevance reduction due to limitations of the human visual system (e.g. quantisation of disparities). Other work packages of the project will consider different algorithms for coding, taking the inter-relationship of two camera signals into account.

Special attention will be paid to source coding algorithms that are compatible with normal 2D TV, and that are realisable in real-time hardware. Disparity estimation is an especially important point in this context. This will be implemented to meet the requirements of a 2D compatible scheme, and hardware limitations. Activities on hardware development include building an automatic 3D TV camera, an LCD stereo display, a codec, the multiplexing/demultiplexing part for transmission over an IBC-channel and test and evaluation including field trials.

Using natural and computer simulated sequences the project will prove the usefulness of stereoscopic image processing in four different industrial applications.

Key Issues

- Transmission of stereoscopic sequences over IBC that are compatible with 2D TV.
- Improvement of different applications through the use of 3D TV.

Expected Impact

The availability of an effective stereoscopic television system will enhance the usefulness of this media in several industrial applications, and therefore enhance the demand for image communication. The algorithms for retrieving stereo information will also influence other technologies of image analysis and synthesis.

Coordinator

SIEMENS AG
Address
Otto-hahn-ring 6
8000 München
Germany

Participants (14)

Centre Commun d'Études de Télécommunications et de Télédiffusion (CCETT)
France
Address
4 Rue Du Clos Courtel
35512 Cesson-sévigne
DISTIMA
Germany
Address
Otto Hahnring 6
8000 München
Deutsche Bundespost Telekom (DBP)
Germany
Address
Am Kavalleriesand 3
64295 Darmstadt
Heinrich-Hertz-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik Berlin GmbH
Germany
Address
Einsteinufer 37
10587 Berlin
INSTITUT FÜR RUNDFUNKTECHNIK GMBH
Germany
Address
Floriansmühlstraße 60
8000 München
INTRACOM S.A.
Greece
Address
19,5 Markopoulou Avenue
190 02 Peania Attika
KONINKLIJKE PTT NEDERLAND NV
Netherlands
Address
St. Paulusstraat 4
2264 XZ Leidschendam
ROYAL PTT NETHERLANDS NV, PTT RESEARCH
Netherlands
Address
St Paulusstraat 4
2264 XZ Leidschendam
TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY DELFT
Netherlands
Address
Mekelweg 4
2628 CD Delft
THOMSON CSF LER
France
Address
3 Avenue De Bell Fontaine
35510 Cesson-sevigne
UNIVERSITY PATRAS
Greece
Address

26500 Patras
UNIVERSITY THESSALONIKI
Greece
Address

54006 Thessaloniki
United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA)
United Kingdom
Address
Building 401.1 Harwell Laboratory
OX11 0RA Didcot
Universität Hannover
Germany
Address
Appelstraße 9A
30167 Hannover