Engineering Science

Multi-video system, gesturing ‘hand’ top contest

May 16, 2011

Simon Fraser University engineering student Andrew Au has created an interactive video system that literally widens the world – letting viewers see multiple views at the same time – with potential applications for surveillance or sporting events.

Recognized with a 2011 BCNET Digital Media Challenge award, Au’s project, called Veaver, was inspired by a Microsoft product called PhotoSynth, which can create 3D scenes from user-generated photographs, but doesn’t support videos and is not available on mobile phones.

Veaver (derived from ‘video’ and ‘weaver’) weaves videos together to enhance viewing experiences. “The ultimate goal is to develop a system that can easily create 3D scenes from videos taken by different users from different viewpoints,” says Au, who resides in Coquitlam.

“It will also allow users to freely navigate the scene during the video playback and share with their friends via social networks.”

Working with SFU engineering professor Jie Liang, and sponsored by Nokia, Au, now a graduate student, completed the project as a fourth-year electrical engineering student. A simplified version of the system is now available on the Windows Phone 7.

SFU also took second place in the BCNet Challenge. A team from the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) created Puppetier, a project that aims to create an “out of body” experience of sorts.

The team, Justin Sy, Vivian Chu, Henry Lin, Billy Cheng and Eugene Suyu, used four small motors, controlled by microprocessors, to create the pull and release motion of fingers on a glove, which responds to the same motions as those of a human hand. A Microsoft Kinect sensor is used to send gesture data to the micro-processors.

The idea, says Lin, is to transfer control of the person’s hand inside the glove to another person. “Like olden-day puppeteers controlling their puppets for a show, our project operates in a similar fashion. It brings forth an element of disembodiment that allows us to feel a sense of play, and one that we as humans don’t generally experience.”

The awards from BCNET recognize innovation in digital media.

Andrew Au, 778.322.7928 (cell);
Henry Lin,
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.3210;