By using a software that powers sports video games, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) have developed a system that automatically converts 2D video of soccer games into 3D.
The converted video can be played back over any 3D device — a commercial 3D TV, Google’s new Cardboard system which turns smartphones into 3D displays or special-purpose displays such as Oculus Rift.
“Any TV these days is capable of 3D. There’s just no content. So we see that the production of high-quality content is the main thing that should happen,” says Wojciech Matusik, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT.
Today’s video games generally store very detailed 3D maps of the virtual environment that the player is navigating.
When the player initiates a move, the game adjusts the map accordingly and, on the fly, generates a 2D projection of the 3D scene that corresponds to a particular viewing angle.
The MIT and QCRI researchers essentially ran this process in reverse.
They set the very realistic Microsoft soccer game “FIFA13” to play over and over again and used Microsoft’s video-game analysis tool PIX to continuously store screen shots of the action.