Microsoft Patent | Collaborative camera viewpoint control for interactive telepresence

Patent: Collaborative camera viewpoint control for interactive telepresence

Publication Number: 10200659

Publication Date: 2019-02-05

Applicants: Microsoft

Abstract:

In embodiments of collaborative camera viewpoint control for interactive telepresence, a system includes a vehicle that travels based on received travel instructions, and the vehicle includes a camera system of multiple cameras that each capture video of an environment in which the vehicle travels from different viewpoints. Viewing devices receive the video of the environment from the different viewpoints, where the video of the environment from a selected one of the viewpoints is displayable to users of the viewing devices. Controller devices that are associated with the viewing devices can each receive a user input as a proposed travel instruction for the vehicle based on the selected viewpoint of the video that is displayed on the viewing devices. A trajectory planner receives the proposed travel instructions initiated via the controller devices, and generates a consensus travel instruction for the vehicle based on the proposed travel instructions.

Background:

Remotely controlled vehicles have become increasingly popular, particularly with respect to mobilized robots, land rovers, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also commonly referred to as “drones”. Typically, these types of vehicles include a camera or cameras that allow video of the environment in which a vehicle operates to be captured and transmitted back to an operator of the vehicle for display on a display screen at the operator’s location. This provides a first person view of what the operator would see if he or she were at the vehicle’s location, or traveling on the vehicle. These types of remotely controlled vehicles typically have a one-to-one correspondence, or pairing, between the operator and the vehicle for teleoperation, where a user input is communicated to the vehicle, which then performs accordingly. Other types of systems only provide a user with telepresence, where the user may simply watch video and/or hear audio of a remote environment, but without being able to control the vehicle, device, or system sending back the video and audio of the remote environment.

Summary:

This Summary introduces features and concepts of collaborative camera viewpoint control for interactive telepresence, which is further described below in the Detailed Description and/or shown in the Figures. This Summary should not be considered to describe essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor used to determine or limit the scope of the claimed subject matter.

Collaborative camera viewpoint control for interactive telepresence is described. In embodiments, a system includes a vehicle that travels based on received travel instructions, and the vehicle includes a camera system of multiple cameras that each capture video of an environment in which the vehicle travels from different viewpoints. The vehicle may be any type of a drone, a submersible, a land rover, a mobilized computing device, a human camera carrier, and/or any other type of a camera transport. Viewing devices receive the video of the environment from the different viewpoints, and the video of the environment from a selected one of the viewpoints is displayable to users of the viewing devices. A travel user interface can be displayed over the video of the environment on the viewing devices, and the travel user interface depicts selectable travel options for the vehicle. The viewing devices may be any type of a virtual reality headset or glasses, an augmented reality headset or glasses, a mobile device with an integrated display, and/or a display device coupled to a computing device. Controller devices that are associated with the viewing devices can each receive a user input as a proposed travel instruction for the vehicle based on the selected viewpoint of the video that is displayed on the viewing devices. A trajectory planner receives the proposed travel instructions initiated via the controller devices, and generates a consensus travel instruction for the vehicle based on the proposed travel instructions.

In other aspects, the trajectory planner can be implemented with a voting system to generate the consensus travel instruction based on each of the proposed travel instructions that are counted as a user vote to direct the travel of the vehicle. The vehicle includes a travel control system to control the travel of the vehicle, and the travel control system can also generate a voting input to the voting system to direct the travel of the vehicle. The trajectory planner communicates the consensus travel instruction to the travel control system effective to instruct the vehicle how to travel. In implementations, travel of the vehicle can include any type of travel, to include stop, brake, start, accelerate, turn-off the vehicle, turn-on the vehicle, travel up, travel down, turn left, turn right, turn around, rotate, travel forward, and travel back. The trajectory planner can also be implemented with a policy system to generate the consensus travel instruction based on each of the proposed travel instructions counted as a weighted vote to direct the travel of the vehicle.

In other aspects, the camera system of the vehicle includes the multiple cameras to capture the video of the environment in which the vehicle travels from different viewpoints. A group of the viewing devices can receive the video of the environment from the viewpoint of one of the cameras, and one or more additional groups of the viewing devices can receive the video of the environment from different viewpoints of other cameras. Additionally, the controller devices can each be implemented to receive an additional user input as a proposed camera viewpoint of at least one of the cameras. The trajectory planner can then receive the proposed camera viewpoints based on the different viewpoints of the environment. The trajectory planner receives the proposed camera viewpoints initiated via the controller devices, and generates a consensus camera viewpoint for the at least one camera based on the proposed camera viewpoints.

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