Saturday, October 24, 2009

New Technology let drivers see through walls

New Technology let drivers see through walls :

If only drivers could see through walls, blind corners and other dangerous road junctions would be much safer. Now an augmented reality system has been built that could just make that come true.

The 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.
This makes it simple to glance "through" a wall to see what's going on behind it. But the techniques needed to combine them were challenging to develop, says Yaser Sheikh of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

Altered images

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: the one seeing the hidden view and the one with the same view as the user.

Ultimately, the team want 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.

Such a network could be supplemented by images from cameras mounted on many cars. The Carnegie team is working on software that integrates feeds in footage from such sources into the system.
But Thomas adds that several formidable hurdles will 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.


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