Facebook donates its Surround 360 to ECE's VIPER Lab
A camera donated to Edward Delp, the Charles William Harrison Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, by Facebook will allow students in his Video and Image Processing (VIPER) Lab to capture images in 360 degrees. The Facebook Surround 360 uses 17 cameras – 14 around the edges, one on top and two on the bottom. Delp says the main capability of the camera is its ability to produce unique, high-quality and high-resolution imagery that can be used in research.
“We’re going to be using the camera for research into three-dimensional image analysis,” he says. “We’re interested in working in areas such as virtual reality and how to take these type of images and compress them so they’re more efficient for transmission.”
Delp says the donation reflects the good relationship his lab has had with Facebook over the years. He says ECE and VIPER Lab alumnus Albert Parra (MS ECE ’11, PhD ECE ’14) was a big part of the team that developed the camera.
“When we started this project, all the existing 3D-360 video cameras we saw were either proprietary (so the community could not access those designs), available only by special request, or fundamentally unreliable as an end-to-end system in a production environment,” says Parra. “So we set out to design and build a 3D-360 video camera that did what you’d expect an everyday camera to do — capture, edit, and render reliably every time.”
Parra says Facebook donated a camera to the VIPER Lab because it has a long-standing record of working on tough and impactful projects in computer vision, machine learning and image and video processing.
“They are in a unique position to develop new algorithms that can advance the field of 3D imaging and computational photography,” he says. “Employers like Facebook not only value the technical skills that VIPER lab students possess, but also the behavioral, critical thinking and problem solving skills that they get to develop during their stay at Purdue and VIPER.”
Parra says his education with Purdue ECE and the VIPER Lab gave him skills that have helped in his career.
“At Purdue ECE I got the chance to learn from world renowned experts in image and video processing, and to work on impactful projects in a fast and dynamic environment,” he says. “All the courses I took helped me build a strong technical foundation, which has allowed me to better understand new problems and quickly learn new technologies. Working at VIPER lab I was able to apply these skills to real-world problems early on, which in turn allowed me to develop a stronger sense of teamwork, leadership, adaptability and communication.”