Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hardcore realtime HDR stereoscopic welding helmet

It is a very exciting time to be interested in imaging and potential VR/AR developments...

"In this demonstration, we present a specialized version of HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging (use of multiple differently exposed input images for each extended-range output image [2, 1]), adapted for use in electric arc welding, which also shows promise as a general-purpose seeing aid. Tungsten Insert Gas (TIG) welding, in particular, presents an extremely high dynamic range scene (higher than most other welding processes). Since TIG welding requires keen eyesight and exact hand-to-eye coordination (i.e. more skill and more visual acuity than most other welding processes), being able to see in such extreme dynamic range is beneficial to welders and welding inspectors."

This is a fantastic example of current realtime stereoscopic image processing in an application where AR [augmented reality] can be of real benefit to the technician... you can see in the associated video clip where the AR overlay indicates critical information like the speed of the weld and the TIG tip distance so the technician performing the weld can close in on the creation of the optimum join in the metal. Normally not only would the join itself be nearly impossible to see where the tip is, but the technician can see other things like the smoke emanating from the weld, the surroundings, the rest of the metal involved. Plus the helmet looks cool! Reminds me of this:

Coinciding with Michael Abrash's blog at Valve about his involvement in and development of the Oculus Rift mean things may be coming together at the right time finally!!

So excite!