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Philips Patents new Method for Stereoscopic Rendering

Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. (Eindhoven, NL) has been issued patent number US8422801.This patent was filed on December 17, 2008 and was published online on April 16, 2013. In the claims, Philips describes a new method for encoding stereoscopic images in a standard TV feed (on satellite, cable, or Blu-ray discs).

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Abstract from the patent (in usual patent slang)

Depth map definition: stereoscopic data may comprise a so-called depth map that is associated with a visual image. A depth map can be regarded as a set of values, which may be in the form of a matrix. Each value relates to a particular area in the visual image and indicates a distance between a virtual observer and an object in that area. The area concerned may comprise a single pixel or a cluster of pixels, which may have rectangular shape, or any other shape for that matter. A processor is capable of generating different views, which are required for stereoscopic rendering, on the basis of the visual image and the depth map associated therewith. The depth map may be completed with occlusion data that provides additional information about background objects, which are at least partially occluded by foreground objects in the visual image.

Depth information stored in video stream: "The document EP 0 888 018 B1, granted on Jun. 7, 2006, relates to an optical disk in which stereoscopic videos are recorded. A signal for the right eye of a stereoscopic image and a signal for the left eye are compressed into MPEG signals by MPEG encoders (MPEG is an acronym for Moving Pictures Experts Group). These signals are interleaved in a particular fashion so as to obtain a so-called interleaved block, which corresponds with a frame group. The interleaved block is recorded for more than one revolution to more than ten revolutions of the optical disk. It is claimed that the optical disk provides a mono-vision (2-D) with an existing reproducing device, and can provide a stereo-vision (3-D) with a new reproducing device."

Depth map subsampling and compression: "The original stereo-enabling data is preferably sub-sampled so that the stereo-enabling data that is encoded has a resolution that is lower than that of the original stereo-enabling data. This further contributes to a high-resolution stereoscopic rendering. In this respect, it should be noted that a loss of resolution in the stereo-enabling data can be restored so that the sub-sampling need not conflict with a high-resolution stereoscopic rendering."

Occlusion data: "The stereo-enabling data can formed by a mosaic of a depth map, which comprises the respective values that indicate respective distances between respective areas in the visual image and the virtual observer, and at least one occlusion image, which represents one or more background objects that are at least partially occluded by one or more foreground objects in the visual image. The occlusion image contributes to a high-definition stereoscopic rendering."

Read the full text and illustrations on the US Patent Office web site for patent #8,422,801.


The patent's inventors are Newton, Philip Steven (Eindhoven, NL); Bruls, Wilhelmus Hendrikus Alfonsus (Eindhoven, NL).

Source: USPTO