Diminished Reality: Tech Magic

A camera points at black colored mobile phone sitting on a brown colored computer desk. The mobile phone is captured on the screen of the camera as it usually does. What follows next will surely impress you.

A pen like object enters the frame and draws a rough circle on the video screen around the mobile phone placed on the desk. The mobile phone disappears from the screen, without a trace. The camera keeps pointing at the desk but the screen does not show any trace of a mobile phone.

One way of describing this phenomenon is by calling it as tech magic. The truth, however, is that this is a technology created by a team of researchers at Technische Universität Ilmenau in Germany. The technology is being called ‘Diminished Reality’.

The reader may have heard about augmented reality: a system that allows you to add virtual objects, such as info bars, to real world objects. Augmented reality is currently a big thing on mobile platforms. The technology created by the German researchers is something like augmented reality, but works in the opposite direction.

Diminished Reality does not add virtual objects to life or live objects; it simply removes them. And it is able to do so in real time, as the camera captures the picture in front of it. The ability to wipe out objects from live action camera screens is indeed an incredible technological achievement. It makes one question the very nature of reality itself.

Diminished Reality works on a simple premise. The user first identifies the object that needs to be eliminated by drawing a boundary around it. Case in point being the rough circle drawn around the mobile phone on the computer desk. The system then detects the object, reduces the quality of the object’s image on screen, and removes the object from the screen. While this process is going on, the system analyzes the surroundings of the object.

Once the object is removed from the frame, Diminished Reality fills in the empty space with the information it has received about the surroundings. The entire process takes about 40 milliseconds. That is to say, in the blink of an eye.

Diminished Reality has immense potential in the field of video effects. Not to mention it also allows you the opportunity to show off in front of family and friends. Check out the video of how this cool technology works on Crunchgear.com.

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Via: Crunchgear