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Reach in and Touch Objects in Videos With 'interactive Dynamic Video'

By MIT News

August 3, 2016

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Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed Interactive Dynamic Video (IDV), an imaging method that can simulate the tactile sensation of objects in videos using cameras and algorithms.

"This technique lets us capture the physical behavior of objects, which gives us a way to play with them in virtual space," says CSAIL postdoctoral student Abe Davis. "By making videos interactive, we can predict how objects will respond to unknown forces and explore new ways to engage with videos."

The team simulated objects by analyzing video clips to find "vibration modes" at distinct frequencies to represent the different ways an object can move, enabling predictions of how they will move in new situations.

"If you want to model how an object behaves and responds to different forces, we show that you can observe the object respond to existing forces and assume that it will respond in a consistent way to new ones," Davis notes.

The researchers say engineering and entertainment are two areas in which IDV could find potential use. For example, the technique could enable much faster rendering of virtual objects for movies. Davis says the simulation of a real-world structure's response to wind or seismic events is another possible use.

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