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“SpheryStream” : new funded project

A major challenge for the next decade is to design virtual and augmented reality systems (VR at large) for real-world use cases such as healthcare, entertainment, e-education, and high-risk missions. This requires VR systems that operate at scale, in a personalized manner, remaining bandwidth-tolerant whilst meeting quality and latency criteria. This can be accomplished only by a fundamental revolution of the coding/streaming/rendering chain that has to put the interactive user at the heart of the system rather than at the end of the chain.

To overcome the above challenges in immersive technology, there is the need to develop an efficient tool for navigation patterns analysis in the spherical domain and leverage on that to predict users’ behaviour and build the entire coding-delivery-rendering pipeline as a user- and geometry-centric system. This proposal focuses on develop novel VR delivery strategies, which will rely on the analysis and prediction of the navigation patterns of the omnidirectional content navigation, in a user, content- and application-dependent fashion. Predicting users’ behaviour will allow to delivery only the content that will be actually consumed by the users, minimising the transmission resources consumption while maximising the user’s Quality of Experience (QoE). The key novelty will be to address the above challenges working directly on the spherical domain, rather than on the projected (thus deformed) bidimensional domain. The developed VR system will be tested via a real omnidirectional video streaming testbed that will be implemented within the scope of the project. The outcomes of the project will be three-folds: i) user- content- and application-dependent VR streaming platform, optimized from the source codec to the delivery platform; ii) users analysis tools able to assess users’ behaviour (when interactive with the content) in an objective fashion to identify common navigation patterns, and to predict future behaviours; iii) VR streaming testbed to test the proposed technology. 

Those are the main aims of “SpheryStream“, a new funded project (gow.epsrc.ukri.org/NGBOViewGrant.aspx?GrantRef=EP/T03324X/1) of a consortium composed by:
– Dr. Laura Toni as the Principal Investigator (PI);
Prof. Aljosa Smolic leading the V-Sense group at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) –
as co-PI;
and the following project partners:
Prof. Pablo Cesar (Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica – CWI) who is a renowned expert in social virtual reality, and multimedia systems;
Adobe Research San José, who developed next generation video technologies widely used in future video streaming systems, such as the Adobe’s HTTP Dynamic Streaming;
– the Immersive and Interactive Content research group at BBC Research, a team of about 20 engineers developing next-generation audio and video systems with strong interest in emerging technologies such as interactive contents and immersive TV;
Huawei Technologies (Ireland)the world’s leading ICT solutions company with strong expertise on 5G, IoTs and computer vision.

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