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Building 3D Models On the Fly With a Webcam

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the do-you-see-what-i-see dept.

Graphics 93

blee37 writes "Here is an excellent video demonstration of a new program developed by Qi Pan, a graduate student, and other researchers at the University of Cambridge. The 'ProFORMA' software constructs a 3D model of an object in real time from (commodity) webcam video. The user can watch the program deduce more pieces of the 3D model as the object is moved and rotated. The resulting graphics are of high quality."

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93 comments

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247964)

just dropped barack obama off at the pool!

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247988)

just dropped barack obama off at the pool!

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!! Classic!

The Death of Hollywood (2, Funny)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247998)

With open-source rendering images already well established and continually improving that only leaves the content areas under-developed. This method will allow anyone with an object to digitize it. This will enable people to take that content and then mix it in virtual environments. Throw in some voice-synthesis software, some directing software, and a million monkeys hammering away at plots then Hollywood as an institution is dead. This is another piece, the others will fall into line as well. It is ironic in that in one of the Civilization games, discovering the Internet invalidates the Hollywood Wonder.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248050)

Awesome, All I need to recreate Starwars now is to visit the nearest starport and record a video of a TIE fighter with my phone and I'll be good... Oh wait!

Re:The Death of Hollywood (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248078)

Actually while you laugh it could allow all sorts of fun stuff because you can model that tie fighter or spaceport by hand if necessary, then visualize and convert it to a 3d model. I don't know about you, but there's lots of things I can do easier with raw materials and my hands that would look good as a model that if I was to model in 3d would take a lot longer to produce...

Re:The Death of Hollywood (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248112)

For sure! I mean this is clearly useful tech. BUUUUT saying death of Hollywood is horribly wrong. I mean... other countries hardly even bite into Hollywood. While budgets might be overblown... You can't do for >1000$ what studios do with 200million dollars PLUS. That's a pretty fucking big gap.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248226)

Perhaps not, I'm blanking on the name right now but that Star Trek/Bablyon 5 spoof some finn made came pretty close to that, and it was done with off the internet models, and a bluescreen in the corner of his room over the spam of what... 5 years? And it looked at least as high budget as some B-films, and probably even some of the Sam Raimi style made-for-tv shows/movies. If you can put out that caliber of material, and have enough friends in the local college theatre program you can probably put out something people will pay for given even just TOLERABLE plot/writing.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248286)

Hollywood != B-films

Re:The Death of Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30252302)

> Hollywood != B-films

True, Hollywood = A, B, C...Z films.

People tend to think of "B-movies" as low-budget, with cheap effects, unknown actors, soundstages instead of location shooting, etc., but in fact all it originally meant is "the film that is billed after the main feature." It really didn't have much to do with the quality of the film itself, only how much money the studio put into promoting it.

Most "B movies" today have higher production values than the "A movies" of yesteryear.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30252194)

Actually while you laugh it could allow all sorts of fun stuff because you can model that tie fighter or spaceport by hand if necessary, then visualize and convert it to a 3d model.

Are you seriously suggesting that there's anyone here who doesn't have a toy TIE fighter around somewhere?

Re:The Death of Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248098)

Have you seen an action move lately? You need way less than a million monkeys.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (1)

garg0yle (208225) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248150)

There's one more key we're missing - the ability to render humans realistically. We can manage just about everything else, but until we can make a virtual John Wayne that looks like John Wayne and not a wax mannequin, we're not going to see Hollywood abandon "talent".

Of course, once we can do so, the next step will be to "improve" the stars - start with a virtual Natalie Portman (for example), and then "tweak" her for further fanboy appeal.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (2, Interesting)

McNihil (612243) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248360)

Or why not let the viewer choose who plays that part... Angelina Jolie with those perky ones from the Tomb Raider movies for instance. How about watching Cassablanca as yourself as Bogart? Now how about being Dekkard in Blade Runner? The only thing that is needed is the motion capture of believable performances that's all.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250290)

That actually is a rather awesome idea. Reminiscent of the Sprawl trilogy's Simstims, but more likely to happen some time soon (good 3d scanning/modeling of a human vs wetware).

Re:The Death of Hollywood (2, Funny)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248404)

I take it you aren't used to using Poser or Blender, or any other related 3-d software and thus don't know the joy of: "You STUPID PROGRAM! I just want her to walk down the stairs! Why are her arms doing that! NO! NO! NOO!!!! Stop floating down the stairs and walk! Why is your hair clipping through the wall, why is your hair even moving that way! STOP IT!"

Hollywood's death knell might be sounding. But it's got a few more good decades in it left before we need to morn for it.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249320)

dear god, why did you mention blender. that is not a 3D modeling program, its a psychological torture device.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250902)

To hell with Blender, why did he mention Poser? It is the photoshop-lensflare-filter of the 3D world. Something which has it's place but which is used 99% of the time to let amateurs run around shouting "look at me I'm an artist too!"

Aside from pirating... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30251240)

Is there any beginner-friendly 3d modelling software that doesn't require you to pay thousands of dollars even for non-commercial use?

Re:Aside from pirating... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30251564)

Have you looked on bittorrent? *ducks from flying legal noise*

Re:The Death of Hollywood (1)

mldi (1598123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253462)

I take it you aren't used to using Poser or Blender, or any other related 3-d software and thus don't know the joy of: "You STUPID PROGRAM! I just want her to walk down the stairs! Why are her arms doing that! NO! NO! NOO!!!! Stop floating down the stairs and walk! Why is your hair clipping through the wall, why is your hair even moving that way! STOP IT!"

Hollywood's death knell might be sounding. But it's got a few more good decades in it left before we need to morn for it.

Hilarious you bring that up. Did you ever look at the model of Big Buck Bunny [bigbuckbunny.org]? It's like his face is sucked in down his throat, just so that when it renders, it looks like they way they want it to. It's horribly fucked up for anything more complex than snowmen or giant walking stick men.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248418)

Ah but in the near future you will need to get a copyright license to make a picture with a model taken from a real object. Soon you won't be able to make a movie without getting a "RAND" license for every object that appears in your movies.

The future is now (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248726)

Ah but in the near future you will need to get a copyright license to make a picture with a model taken from a real object.

Try using a glass Coke bottle, a Rubik's Cube or an Igloo cooler in your flick and see what happens.

Re:The future is now (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251966)

Wow time flies like an arrow. So yeah, it's just like you can't play ancient music for free because the recording was done in the last century or you can't post an ancient text because the scanning/transcription was done within the last century, we live in a cultural deadlock where creating is a risky business where lawyers are advised.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (4, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248674)

In theory, we can make good computer games, too.

But how many open-source games can you name that have great graphics? And how many closed-source games with great graphics are there?

I don't think Hollywood is dying just yet.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (2, Interesting)

Quantumstate (1295210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249000)

I think the OP was implying that this new technique might be useful for making the graphics for these things. Since it has only just been created it would indeed be very surprising if open source games had used it to make great graphics already.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250928)

Really? Where do you think that people are magically going to get real life versions of the wanted 3D characters? Besides, anyone good enough to clean up and make these kinds of models usable is good enough to just be able to model it in the first place. Faster too.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (1)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251938)

Yes, you're right because the only 3D models used in games are fantastic monstrous characters. You never see things like chairs, tables, lamps, cars, and refrigerators. There's simply no need for them! And being able to easily create models of such things would be equally useless, especially when anyone in the world would suddenly have the ability to contribute large numbers of everyday objects to some sort of global repository.

Sarcasm aside, at the very least maybe this will spell the end of the infamous Crate. Probably not, though.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 4 years ago | (#30252150)

Yeah, but those objects are easy. Like, dumb easy. It takes far, far less time to make a fridge the traditional modelling way than it takes to clean up data like this. And you can make any fridge you want instead of having to find a real fridge and haul it out, light it and scan it.

Object scanning systems have been around for over twenty years in various forms and costs. The fact that even the people who have been able to afford it don't use them should tell you a lot about how applicable this tech actually is. If scanning was cheaper or faster or easier than modelling you would see people like Blizzard and WETA all over it. But you don't.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (1)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30257206)

Okay, how about instead of using a live camera view, you record footage of a fly-by over a city?

And what do you want to bet Google would pee themselves if they were able to use this to, say, replace streetview with 3D city models generated through such technology? Instead of paying someone to drive a car around which takes pictures every so many feet, they'll pay someone to drive a car around which generates a fully-textured 3D model of any city around. Suddenly, streetview graduates from Myst-style clickthroughs to something much much more immersive.

That is to say, which is cheaper: paying some group of people to model (including photographic textures!) all major (and many minor) cities around the world, or just to drive a car around and do it automatically? To use your own argument: if falsifying (painting, modeling, etc.) that data was cheaper or faster or easier than driving a car around, you would see people like Google all over it. But you don't.

You're just not thinking big enough. :)

Re:The Death of Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248910)

I develop video games and make short films for fun. It is painfully obvious that you never attempted at making any sort of short film or (3d) video game, yet you do not seem to understand how incompetent you are in the area.
I'm going to go cry now. That's how bad your post was.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249382)

With open-source rendering images already well established...that only leaves the content areas under-developed.
Throw in some voice-synthesis software, some directing software, and a million monkeys hammering away at plots then Hollywood as an institution is dead.

The geek needs a million monkeys.

Hollywood gets by with a handful of men men like John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Brad Bird. In sound design, a Ben Burtt.

Digitizing the prop is trivial.

Knowing which prop to use - and how to use it is not.

There are around 400 individually designed objects in the "bubble wrap" scene in Wall-E.

For 10% of your final grade, your mission is to explain how these props are used to create a mood, comic or tragic, advance the story, reveal character.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30249788)

Troll?! Looks like Jack Valenti got some mod points today.

Re:The Death of Hollywood (1)

vikstar (615372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251642)

That's because Hollywood is just crap rendered in good graphics. There are international studios that produce high quality cinema which will live on due to the content, and not a glossy wrapper.

Amazing new mathematics research (1, Troll)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248028)

We are beginning to see the applied math fruits of the amazing advances in lambda-matrix algebra that have taken place in the last decade. Most people outside of the academy aren't aware but we are living through another golden age in Math. First, the proof of Krebik's theorem in 1992. Then, building on that, the multi-computational vectorization of Gauss entities (this was done on a Beowulf cluster running Slackware!) And finally in 1995, Chen cracked the higher-order Piezo series conundrum (nicknamed the "Pac-Man Problem") Soon everything will be three-dimensional, thanks to these stunning innovations.

Re:Amazing new mathematics research (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248634)

Which knob modded this up? C'mon own up.

There's one born every minute.

Re:Amazing new mathematics research (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#30252478)

If you don't like it that I bring knowledge and enlightenment to the masses then you are just an elite ist goat lover who supproably is friends with Italian islamo-communist liberal terrorists.

Download link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248082)

Is it just me or is there no download link?

Re:Download link? (1)

lbalbalba (526209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248206)

From the website: [cam.ac.uk]

In a few months time when code porting (to new library versions) is complete, a Linux-based demo of ProFORMA should be released.

Re:Download link? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248464)

That site only has pdf files and videos. Not really useful at all. We want to TRY this software, not watch some fancy demo video.

-XcepticZP

Re:Download link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30252202)

If you're so eager that you can't wait, read the papers and implement it.

Any open source software? (1)

gnalle (125916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248094)

I s there any open source software that can generate a 3D model from photos? As far as I can see the source code of proforma is closed. http://mi.eng.cam.ac.uk/~qp202/my_papers/BMVC09/ [cam.ac.uk]

Re:Any open source software? (1)

ivanwyc (1649687) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248278)

Well, if the paper is well written, implementing it as a GPL project won't be too difficult.

Re:Any open source software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30249282)

Bundler http://phototour.cs.washington.edu/bundler/
It's GPL and is quite amazing when you get it to work. Use it in combination with SIFT and PMVS2 - although you can use other feature points and dense matchers, but they will require much extra work.

If the guy doesn't release his source code then don't really bother rewriting it, the whole field of 3D is more or less exploding right now and there is more than enough GPL'ed code out there. Decyphering a paper and trying to do it yourself takes a lot of time and usually doesn't work too well.

Wait..wait... on the FLY with a WEBcam? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248102)

Did the Slashdot contributor discover TFA with a spider?

yawn, two decades ago called (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248128)

And this is why no-one with any ability chooses Computing at Cambridge.

On a plus note, MS swipes most of them up anyway, leaving the real engineering colleges (MIT, Imperial, etc.) to produce engineers.

Meanwhile, those who want the Oxbridge badge study Mathematics. Which is still a more worthy challenge than Engineering at MIT *ducks*.

Hello 'Likeness Theft' (2, Interesting)

kbob88 (951258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248320)

I can just see it now -- anyone who can get a bit of video of you can create a 3-D models of your face and body, and then do anything with the likeness. When rendering gets really good, this could be a bit embarrassing. Instead of 2D retouched photos of celebrities and politicians, we'll be seeing hacked up 'animated' (but realistic) video of them doing all sorts of wild stuff. Well, it might be a boon to the porn industry, at least in the short-term before the rendering software becomes available to consumers.

Re:Hello 'Likeness Theft' (1)

Quantumstate (1295210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249044)

It is still very difficult to animate the model in a realistic way so you would need a bit more than this program. I can see it happening in combination with other footage which you could capture movement from then change the models to the celebrities.

Re:Hello 'Likeness Theft' (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250258)

have a chat with hollywood, they have worked on this for a while.

like say 1.000.000 agent smiths ;)

Re:Hello 'Likeness Theft' (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250964)

Yeah, that only took a team of dozens of people plus a crapload of body double actors and months of work. And, despite the fact that it was almost 10 years ago now, it wouldn't be that much easier to do today. Well, a scene of a bunch of duplicates standing around would be fairly simple but they have been doing those for decades. The only significant difference between making the opening fight scene from Matrix2 then and now is that advances in hardware would cut down the final render time.

Re:Hello 'Likeness Theft' (1)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30254168)

If you're old enough you can remember "The Running Man" starring governator which did exactly that to show his character as having lost the battle.

Re:Hello 'Likeness Theft' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30254434)

Well ive been doing this for years. All you needed was a 3d tracking app and then build the meshbased on those computed points.

In fact this is not the first incarnation of these kinds of apps. An dont call the models they make high quality. But its cartainly a quite good implementation.

The big problem with scanned 3d is that its often too dense has points in the worng place and is too heavy or too sparse. It lacks the flow. This leads to unusable 3d model

Needs Chroma Keying (1)

KalvinB (205500) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248350)

It may help the modeling process if chroma keying could be used to make the camera ignore supporting objects like a turn table or a hand that's holding the object. Another improvement could be to automatically cut out excess vectors and triangles. It wouldn't be too difficult (for someone who can make this type of software) to determine that the plane that makes up the side of the demo building is virtually flat and reduce the complexity to two triangles.

One of the key limiting factors to amateurs making mods for popular games is the expense and complexity of 3D modeling software. Few good coders are also artists. And few good artists are also coders.

Back in the day anyone could put Barney in DooM or Wolf3D. Now it takes expensive software and a lot of time to shoot up your favorite character you love to hate.

Re:Needs Chroma Keying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248638)

Much simpler: It ignores anything that changes shape. The object is whatever does not move in itself. Notice that in the demo video, the hand that holds the object does not end up in the model because it is not statically attached to the object. You don't need a turntable either. You interactively move the object in front of the camera such that all surfaces of the object are defined. You would have to take pictures from many angles if you wanted to do this automatically. By hand, you only need to show the object from the angles that are actually necessary to define the object.

The letdown is that there is no software to try. Anyone who has kept up with the developments in computer vision algorithms could probably write a tool like that. The concepts and algorithms aren't really novel or surprising. The theoretical ability is therefore not terribly exciting. Actual software would be, alas, there is none.

Re:Needs Chroma Keying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248976)

I think one of the cool things here is that chroma keying wasn't needed.

Goat saves family (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248390)

flame me for being off-topic if you like... What's with the kid and the goat in the ad at the top of /. today? He's an "orphan" who says the goat saved the family - not his family, it would seem - - cause he's an orphan. Non-profiteering rears its ugly head... Not a nickel!

Pron? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248544)

I rest my case.

Re:Pron? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30249616)

I want a 3D printer now.

A New Video Toaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248664)

Yeah and the Video Toaster "took the power out of the hands of the Networks and put it in the hands of the People"

Blah Blah Blah

Get off my lawn.

Imperial College have something similar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248914)

There's another project in a similar field that researchers at Imperial College have been working on.

Take a look at http://www.doc.ic.ac.uk/~ajd/ and you'll see what I'm talking about.
This technique seems to work in a similar manner, but works based off the motion of the camera... so less limited.

It's not directly designed for the same purpose, but a couple of years back I spoke to the researchers when we were thinking of making use of the technology for modelling London Underground stations, and with a little development, they were pretty sure it could do the same thing as was being demonstrated.

3D vision for robots (3, Interesting)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249188)

I was thinking about robots one day and I was wondering why those who work on computer vision didn't do something like this. Instead of trying to get the machine to understand the analog world, why wouldn't it be better for the machine to have an internal representation of the world by making a 3d map? Quake 3 CoffeeShop, if you will.

The idea I had was that the vision system creates a 3d map with entities, mapped from the vision system as well, inside. The AI works within the 3d representation of the world. If the AI wants to move from A to B, it signals the body controlling subsystem to start walking. When the 3d representation, being informed by the vision system, tells the AI that it is at point B, then the AI signals to stop walking.

Hardware constraints not withstanding, is this model any good?

I'm just a lowly, early middle aged novice C programmer who has never actually done anything with robotics, so if what I said made no sense or is obviously idiotic, I do understand that my ideas are comin' outta my ass.

Re:3D vision for robots (1)

KalvinB (205500) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249544)

What was created here could probably be extended to look at two web cams simultaneously to calculate the 3D space rather then relying on two separate images from one camera.

What this software is doing is looking at the rotation of an object rather than displacement. So it may need some other adjustments besides just using two cameras to get two source images at once.

Re:3D vision for robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30249588)

> is this model any good?

Yes, it's the only workable model.. but I am Anonymous Coward.

Re:3D vision for robots (1)

Rabbitbunny (1202531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249660)

That's actually how my idea for a WoW bot worked...

I see a use for this technology.

Re:3D vision for robots (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249814)

The idea that it could be implemented entirely in software also occurred to me. The vision system would be different, of course, with it taking the video from a game (WoW or Q3A) and translating that into a generic 3d engine which the AI can use. Instead of sending it to an AI-to-Robot system, it sends it to a AI-to-HowThisGameWorks layer which sends the info to the game.

I hope that made sense.

Re:3D vision for robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30249806)

The problem is noise. This is the single most annoying issue in this type of a computer vision problem. I've written an entire thesis on reducing noise in stereo images and the results aren't very pretty. (I however used a specialized stereo camera instead of the commodity hardware).

I did not find many intricate details about this particular article (I guess I didn't look hard enough) but I'll be very interested to know how well this works in normal real-world situations instead of a "background blue-screen and one object moving in the foreground" situation. My guess is not well.

Re:3D vision for robots (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250014)

There are a few kinks to work out with this model, but essentially, it could work. Specifically the example they showed would model an object, and not the world around it. So the algorithm would have to be reworked to map the world, and like someone else mentioned, would probably use 2 cameras (which means its compiling twice the data, which means "Real time" might not be so fast)

There is also the major issue with dynamic lighting effects. Since lighting is the primary use of how to model something in 3D, you generally just move the object (or yourself through the world) and you assume that the light source is always stationary. Or, for more accuracy, you can move the light source across 129600 (360 by 360) degrees of space, and knowing the lights path, get a more accurate understanding of the depth and shape of an object or world. Now movement and dynamic lighting combined would give you a far more accurate object then just one or the other. (In fact, if you or the object don't move, you'll only be getting half of what is there, essentially the front side of the object or only what is sitting in front of you in your world)

Now, the biggest kink to that would be a dynamic light source where the path isn't predicted. Example, the Robot is walking along, and a Car drives by. The altered light on the ground could mean the robot percieves a bump in the road, when in fact, there is not.

I hope that made sense.

Re:3D vision for robots (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250434)

Light is also not something I thought too much about; it seems to be above my intellectual pay grade.

Could a basic implementation be done in just software like this: Take a 3d game engine with a map and a model. Attach two "player's" eyes to the face of the model so there are two POVs instead of the usual FPS's one. The output goes to the video processing system (perhaps on a different machine), which creates a new 3d map with entities based on what the video system came up with.

Idea of it being that more could be controlled than in trying to model the real world, like light and shadows. So if a game car drove past, it doesn't cast a shadow, so the programmer can work on getting the basics down first before moving on to dealing with things casting shadows.

Re:3D vision for robots (2, Informative)

eggnoglatte (1047660) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250028)

The idea is not stupid, but it also isn't new [wikipedia.org]. It is just turns out to be a little harder to get working in practice than you might think..

Re:3D vision for robots (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250072)

Thank you! When I did my searching for something like my idea, I couldn't find anything. Obviously my Google-fu needs some work.

With regards to how easy it would be, my estimate was that it was beyond my abilities. So it still is, but just way way beyond my abilities.

Re:3D vision for robots (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250200)

thanks for reminding me, as i think i read that research have shown that this is how we humans operate.

as in, we build up a internal model of ourselves and whats around us, and keep refining said model constantly.

thats why we develop habits and preferences, as that means the models do not have to change.

this includes our own body btw, and is the probable cause of phantom limb experiences.

Re:3D vision for robots (1)

nghiaho12 (1403043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251326)

I actually did this for my thesis. I built a quake like 3D model of the environment using an expensive laser range scanner. The robot has enough geometric and photometric information it needs to perform localisation and path planning. This type of problem where you have the map before hand is generally called "global localisation" and is easier than the Simultanous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) problem, where you don't have a map prior.

Simultaneous location and mapping (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30252992)

That's called "simultaneous location and mapping", and in the last five years, good algorithms have been developed and quite a few systems are more or less working. Search for "Visual SLAM".

The Samsung Hauzen vacuum cleaner uses Visual SLAM. There's a video. [youtube.com] This is way ahead of the blundering Roomba.

Re:Simultaneous location and mapping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30256410)

I don't see where the visual part of the CV-SLAM comes in. I guess they have a camera mounted on top of the robot looking at the ceiling... It might help with localization, especially if the wheels slip at all. Other than that the mapping looks like it is done completely through the use of a range sensor (put a red block wherever it encounters an obstacle) and knowledge of the control inputs.

Academic projects versus commercial applications (4, Interesting)

Frans Faase (648933) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249976)

There seems to be a huge gap between these kind of academic projects and the commercial available programs. I have come across several commenrcial applications that can do these kind of things, but these applications cost at least a 1000 dollars or even more. And then there are all these academic projects (going on for at least two decades), which present nice video's and papers, and sometimes release some software. But when you look at the software, you discover that you first have to download nine other package and compile the whole thing and what you get is some kind of script you have to run, with all sorts of command line options. But sofar, I have never found an application with a solid interface on the level of the Gimp or Blender for the matter of the fact. I find this rather strange. I am almost getting the impression that some of the results are sold to the developers of the commercial packages.

Re:Academic projects versus commercial application (1)

mds820 (944427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250836)

Or their research is funded by the developers or tech companies indirectly. Academia receives a lot of support and funds from private industry. Intel, IBM, you name it, throws money at research institutions all the time. It may not be a direct tit for tat kind of transaction, but yes, many commercial products benefit from the publicly available research papers published by graduate and post-graduate research.

Re:Academic projects versus commercial application (1)

mds820 (944427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250952)

Academia takes care of the R in R&D. Not necessarily the D.

Re:Academic projects versus commercial application (3, Informative)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251118)

The major reason that these types of programs don't get expanded into commercial products or bought and integrated into existing products is that they are cute tech demos but not particularly real-world interesting.

Almost without exception anything simple enough for these types of reconstruction programs to handle is too simple to bother with. The paper church in the demo video for instance. The final wire-frame product is, sadly, crap. Neat and interesting crap but still crap. There are at least 3 times the polys that the form needs and almost all of the significant edges are in the wrong place. In the time it would take to clean up the data into something worth using I could build a better model form scratch including textures.

There are perhaps some very niche uses for this in terms of augmented reality. It could be integrated into a game or chat program to give a more realistic version of those make-an-avatar-from-your-webcam gimmicks that seem to gain attention every once and a while. If this guy has developed some very good algorithms he might get the interest of some of the match-moving software companies like Syntheyes.

But the reason this kind of this never shows up in profesional 3D packages is that if you are good enough to be using the software professionally you are good enough not to need these kinds of crutches. It's the 3D equivalent of Dreamweaver's auto-generated spaghetti code.

Re:Academic projects versus commercial application (1)

snadrus (930168) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253120)

Simplification is easy: answer "if this point was missing, what's the angular difference lost?" and if it's below a threshold then do it.
Then area thresholds could be set, or more logic to do it for you.

Re:Academic projects versus commercial application (1)

HigH5 (1242290) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253630)

"Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." Thomas Edison
I think that the 99% percent is often the problem with these projects. You come up with something, make a proof of concept, but it takes a lot more work to perfect it.

Re:Academic projects versus commercial application (1)

Geminii (954348) | more than 4 years ago | (#30270968)

If you are not good enough to be using CAD software professionally than you are 99% of the new market this thing just created.

Volker Blanz and his 3D Celebrities (1)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 4 years ago | (#30252382)

There seems to be a huge gap between these kind of academic projects and the commercial available programs.

Indeed. Check out the work of Volker Blanz [mpi-inf.mpg.de] . He was producing amazing 3D models of celebrities from photographs a decade ago. Yet you can't get anything remotely that good today (I've used Facegen etc).

Re:Academic projects versus commercial application (1)

laddiebuck (868690) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253048)

Sadly anything useful from academia (not implying that this is) is spun off into private companies, 9 times out of 10. This despite the fact that it's mostly developed on public money.

I have seen this before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30250998)

In the 2002 Science Fair at UGA, I swear this exact same project was there and won overall.

Motion Capture - Yahoo group (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253276)

People interested in this area may find the 'Motion Capture' Yahoo group useful.

Its website is located here:
http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/motioncapture/ [yahoo.com]

A recent interesting message from the group (edited to evade ./ Junk filter):

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brad Friedman
Date: Sun, Nov 15, 2009 at 9:35 AM
Subject: [motioncapture] releasing some optitrack open source software and code
To: mocap list

Hey all.

Been a while. I've been rather busy with other things.

I'm releasing some OptiTrack related open source software and code.

Two simple modules have been released. One is LGPL and one is BSD.

http://www.fie.us/kinearx [www.fie.us]

Its all alpha level stuff. But its working well enough for me to move on to other things. I feel its worth open sourcing something that runs, and does useful things. Even if its not feature complete and production tested.

Its really for developers more than end users for now. But this list is about developing tools. So there you go.

My theory is simple: This particular part of working with OT cameras is kinda generic and somewhat dull. I'd rather have an open source backend that we can all maintain together, than have to maintain it completely by myself. The windows app is LGPL. The example client, is BSD. Therefore, it should be good for open source and commercial developers who, like me, also want to collaborate on the dull backend and spend more time on other aspects of mocap systems. The projects are separated by a nice simple binary data stream layer to make sure their licenses don't conflict.

Two main features of interest:

1. Cameras operating on different computers can be synchronized by looping the sync cable through. The existing Arena and PointCloud tools from NP don't do this on their backend.

2. Development is jail broken out of the PC environment by the binary protocol. The example script is written in python and runs on OSX and linux, for example.

Further work to be done:

1. Better support of OT cameras other than the V100r1. That's the only camera I have, so that's what I know is supported. C120 and V100r2 are something I can't really confirm function of. But I'd like to.

2. Occasional sending of a GMT timestamp from the 2d servers, interleaved with the frames, for sanity checking purposes and helping with situations where the sync cable may not be working fully.

3. Switch between the mass marker mode, and COM object mode. This should make the grayscale and masking features of the camera work again (I think being in mass object mode disables them).

Feel free to e-mail me with questions or queries.

Brad Friedman
VFX - Consultant - Mocap
http://www.fie.us/ [www.fie.us]

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