Video Avatars in Collabrative Virtual Environment

Fang Wang

postscript copy of project report

What is CVR -- Collabrative Virtual Environment?

A major focus of research here at the EVL.

What is an avatar?

Each user in a persistent collabrative virtual environment is represented by an avatar, so that users at other sites in the same virtual environment know where they are and what they are looking at. A collabrative VR application sends tracker information of the user in the VR across the network; at the same time, it receives tracker information of other users in the same VR and displays the avatars at the right translation and rotation in the environment.

Why live video avatars?

During the development of CVR application at EVL, 2 types of avatars have been developed and used. The first type is an IV model type. This kind of avatars can be designed by the users, or CG artists. In the EVL N.I.C.E project, a VR learning environment for children, various IV models were designed and used.

A VR participant can also be captured on a turntable on a movie. Then depending on where the current user is and where the avatar is, different frames from the movie are displayed for the right and left eyes to create stereo in VR. The avatar appears as a 3-D wax figure in the environment.

As high speed network becomes more available, video compression technology advances, using live video to display remote users becomes the next natural step. This is also my most recent research and master project.

How can it be done?