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The processing power and network bandwidth required for true immersive telepresence applications are only now beginning to be available. We draw from our experience developing stereo based tele-immersion prototypes to present the main issues arising when building these systems. Tele-immersion is a new medium that enables a user to share a virtual space with remote participants. The user is immersed in a rendered three-dimensional (3-D) world that is transmitted from a remote site. To acquire this 3-D description, we apply binocular and trinocular stereo techniques which provide a view-independent scene description. Slow processing cycles or long network latencies interfere with the users' ability to communicate, so the dense stereo range data must be computed and transmitted at high frame rates. Moreover, reconstructed 3-D views of the remote scene must be as accurate as possible to achieve a sense of presence. We address both issues of speed and accuracy using a variety of techniques including the power of supercomputing clusters and a method for combining motion and stereo in order to increase speed and robustness. We present the latest prototype acquiring a room-size environment in real time using a supercomputing cluster, and we discuss its strengths and current weaknesses.
Stereo vision, tele-immersion, telepresence, terascale computing
Jane Mulligan, Xenophon Zabulis, Nikhil Kelshikar, and Kostas Daniilidis, "Stereo-Based Environment Scanning for Immersive Telepresence", . March 2004.
Date Posted: 05 November 2004
This document has been peer reviewed.