Shadow Conferencing


Project Description: This is a videoconferencing system that can connect up to twelve people across the Internet. Each user has a camera that is aimed towards them. The camera digitizes an outline of that individual and relays it to the other people in the conference. The camera captures the gesture and the general appearance of the user without the intrusive image detail that many users dislike about ordinary video conferencing systems that take the full video image. Using outlines has the advantage that they can be overlaid on each other without obscuring the other. Instead of the usual split screen grid (as seen, for example, in the opening credits of The Brady Bunch), this allows for more interesting interfaces where users can express themselves with the placement of their outline. Finally this type of conferencing uses much less bandwidth and allows for more people to participate and with better frame rates. Users can therefore participate over slower connections. I have also worked on versions that allow the level of detail to be adjusted from merely outlines to including internal edges and to cartoon colorization.

Technical Notes: I wrote the client or end-user software as a Java Applet using QuickTime for the video digitization. I wrote the UDP server as a Java application. NYU is pursuing a patent on this idea.

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