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3D imaging system puts people into VR

3D Human Body Reconstruction Technology uses multiple cameras simultaneously to create naturally moving dynamic 3D models of people for use in VR environments.

A method for transmitting a realistic moving image of a person into a virtual world has been developed by researchers at the Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) – part of the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications.

3D Human Body Reconstruction Technology uses multiple cameras simultaneously to capture moving images of real people and create naturally moving dynamic 3D models. The system uses more than 20 stereoscopic cameras to create a detailed three-dimensional impression of a person; each camera captures a small area, and the images are then merged in a few seconds to form the whole image.

In addition the camera technology, the HHI scientists have developed algorithms that can quickly extract depth information from the stereoscopic images. This is necessary to calculate the 3D form of a captured image, which is then transferred into the virtual scene. The cameras perceive a detailed surface shape, which can show small details such as wrinkles in clothing.

The fusing of the 3D information from the various camera images takes a few seconds, but creates an illusion that HHI describes as perfect, transmitting the 3D dynamic model into virtual reality. The subject being recorded can move freely in a dedicated capture area; the virtual image portrays every gesture and movement realistically. The goal for the future is for a realistic image copy of a human to be able to directly interact with the virtual world – for example, by picking up virtual objects.

Potential applications for the technology extend to the worlds of business – such as a virtual videoconferencing system – and entertainment. One potential infotainment application is for a TV viewer to be directly involved in a movie scene via VR glasses. The viewer would not only see a 3D image of the scene on the television, they could also walk around inside it, and even take part in the story.

The 3D Human Body Reconstruction Technology will be on show at this year’s IFA (Hall 11.1, Booth 3) and IBC (Hall 8, Booth B80) trade shows.

Heinrich Hertz Institute