Electrical and computer engineering professor Kenneth Rose and his team search for better 360° video encoding
With the popularity of virtual reality surging, the potential uses of the technology widen as more applications are conceived to capitalize on its immersive nature.
But like many emerging digital innovations, one major roadblock stands in the way of its widespread adoption: the sheer amount of data that must be processed for an effective user experience.
The data generated by 360° video is a case in point. It often exceeds the bandwidth available for rapid transmission, leading to the all-too-familiar choppy output or the interruptions caused by buffering. To compensate, more sophisticated hardware can be purchased, or more precious bandwidth can be allocated — neither of which is a satisfactory solution for the host of the video, or for the consumer.
UC Santa Barbara electrical and computer engineering professor Kenneth Rose and his research group are poised to make things smoother. With a $40,000 gift from the company InterDigital Communications, through its charitable affiliate the Signal Foundation for Wireless Innovation, Inc., Rose and his team will investigate methods of compression to decrease both the volume of data and the time needed to process it.
“Our objective is to develop enabling technology in terms of compression, since the amount of data involved in 360 video is extensive, which as it stands would make many application scenarios impractical,” Rose said. In contrast to conventional video technology, which is projected on a flat plane, 360° video is projected on a spherical plane that encloses the viewer. And that presents unique challenges.”