Using Augmented Reality apps in smartphones or tablets, anybody can overlay digital text, video and graphics onto the physical world for others to see later. Most major cities already have digital annotations around the world. Soon there could be a new type of tag in our cities – cut-and-pasted people – thanks to a technique for editing augmented reality (AR) videos.
Now Graz University of Technology, Austria, have designed software that can cut a person or an object out of a video, so that they alone can be pasted as a digital overlay. The idea is to make virtual human guides that could offer city tours or how-to demos, as well as enhancing AR games.
They used a computer-imaging technique called foreground-background segmentation to identify the required foreground object – usually a person. So a user would film a video, then simply point to the object they wanted to extract. The software would do the rest. In a demo, they filmed a skateboarder doing a jump, and showed how he could be pasted onto a street scene. When the app “sees” the environment, it can replay the person in the right place, skating along the ground, for example.
Although they demonstrated the concept using a PC, the researchers say it would be possible to put the software into a smartphone or tablet app. Their work will be presented at OzCHI, the Australian conference on computer-human interaction in Melbourne next month.