A Robust Abstraction for First-Person Video Streaming: Techniques, Applications, and Experiments

Neil J. McCurdy, William G. Griswold and Leslie A. Lenert
April 7, 2006

The emergence of personal mobile computing and ubiquitous wireless networks enables powerful field applications of video streaming, such as vision-enabled command centers for hazardous materials response. However, experience has repeatedly demonstrated both the fragility of the wireless networks and the insatiable demand for higher resolution and more video streams. In the wild, even the best streaming video mechanisms result in low-resolution, low-frame-rate video, in part because the motion of first-person mobile video (e.g., via a head-mounted camera) decimates temporal (inter-frame) compression. We introduce a visualization technique for displaying low-bit-rate first-person video that maintains the benefits of high resolution, while minimizing the problems typically associated with low frame rates. This technique has the unexpected benefit of eliminating the ``Blaire Witch Project'' effect -- the nausea-inducing jumpiness typical of first-person video. We explore the features and benefits of the technique through both a field study involving hazardous waste disposal and a lab study of side-by-side comparisons with alternate methods. The technique was praised as a possible command center tool, and some of the participants in the lab study preferred our low-bitrate encoding technique to the full-frame, high resolution video that was used as a control.

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