Sony Patent | Image Processor And Control Method Of Image Processor

Patent: Image Processor And Control Method Of Image Processor

Publication Number: 20200053337

Publication Date: 20200213

Applicants: Sony

Abstract

A disparity image in a stereoscopic image is generated not to collapse. In a case where a viewing position in the entire celestial image space, specified on the basis of position information of a user, is within a range of a predetermined distance from an original point in a coordinate system of the entire celestial image, a disparity image based on the viewing position is generated, and in a case where the viewing position in the entire celestial image space is not within the range of a predetermined distance from the original point in the coordinate system of the entire celestial image, the viewing position in the entire celestial image space is moved to the original point of the entire celestial image space, and the disparity image is generated. The present disclosure can be applied to an HMD.

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of Japanese Priority Patent Application JP 2017-140080 filed on 19 Jul. 2017, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present disclosure relates to an image processor and a control method of an image processor, and in particular, relates to an image processor and a control method of an image processor in which a disparity image based on viewing information of a user can be generated.

BACKGROUND ART

[0003] Recently, a technology of viewing a stereoscopic image by using a head mounted display (HMD) has attracted attention.

[0004] The viewing of the stereoscopic image is realized by displaying an image corresponding to each of right and left eyes where there is a disparity, with respect to each of the right and left eyes in the HMD, and by allowing a user to view the image.

[0005] Here, it is known that in the case of viewing the stereoscopic image using the HMD, a shift is generated between an image to be viewed and a motion of an actual body, and thus, the user feels so-called sickness.

[0006] Therefore, a technology is proposed in which displacement information (an amount of temporal length) obtained from a motion sensor built in the HMD is used as a threshold value, and in a case where a rapid change at a viewing point, which is greater than the threshold value and leads to sickness, is detected, the image to be displayed is replaced with an image which is moderately changed, and thus, the sickness due to the viewing of the stereoscopic image using the HMD is prevented (refer to PTL 1).

CITATION LIST

Patent Literature

[PTL 1]

JP 2010-266989A

SUMMARY

Technical Problem

[0007] However, in a case where the stereoscopic image is displayed in real time, it is necessary to reflect an absolute amount of the displacement information to be detected by the motion sensor of the HMD on the display, and thus, in the case of replacing the image with a moderate image at the time of rapidly changing face orientation, there is a concern that uncomfortable feeling occurs.

[0008] In addition, there is a method of providing an upper limit in a movement rate or a movement angular rate, but there is a concern that superiority in operability where the position of the motion sensor absolutely corresponds is impaired.

[0009] The present disclosure has been made in consideration of such circumstances, and in particular, is capable of generating a disparity image in the display of a stereoscopic image on the basis of viewing information of a user.

Solution to Problem

[0010] An image processor according to one aspect of the present disclosure includes: an image generating unit configured to generate two right and left images corresponding to a right eye and a left eye of a user in a predetermined mode using image data specified by viewing information of the user in a case where the viewing information of the user satisfies a predetermined condition, and generate two right and left images corresponding to the right eye and the left eye of the user in the other predetermined mode different from the predetermined mode in a case where the viewing information of the user does not satisfy the predetermined condition.

[0011] In a case where a viewing direction of the user in a coordinate system of the image data of the user satisfies the predetermined condition, the image generating unit is capable of generating the two right and left images in the predetermined mode using the image data specified by the viewing information of the user, and in a case where the viewing direction of the user in the coordinate system of the image data of the user does not satisfy the predetermined condition, the image generating unit is capable of generating the two right and left images in the other predetermined mode.

[0012] In a case where the viewing direction is within a range of a predetermined elevation angle of the coordinate system in the image data, the image generating unit is capable of generating the two right and left images in the predetermined mode using the image data specified by the viewing direction of the user, and in a case where the viewing direction is not within the range of the predetermined elevation angle of the coordinate system in the image data, the image generating unit is capable of generating the two identical right and left images in the other predetermined mode using the image data specified by the viewing direction of the user.

[0013] The two right and left images can be two right and left disparity images.

[0014] In a case where the viewing direction is within the range of the predetermined elevation angle of the coordinate system in the image data, the image generating unit is capable of generating the two right and left images in the predetermined mode using the image data specified by the viewing direction of the user, and in a case where the viewing direction is not within the range of the predetermined elevation angle of the coordinate system in the image data, the image generating unit is capable of generating the two right and left images in the other predetermined mode using the image data specified by the viewing direction of the user to be horizontally reversed, or of generating the two right and left images such that the two right and left images are horizontally reversed.

[0015] The two right and left images can be two right and left disparity images.

[0016] A viewing direction detection unit configured to detect the viewing direction can be further provided, the viewing direction detection unit is capable of further including a face orientation direction detection unit configured to detect a face orientation direction of the user and a visual line direction detection unit configured to detect a visual line direction of the user, and the viewing direction detection unit is capable of calculating the viewing direction by using the face orientation direction and the visual line direction.

[0017] In a case where a viewing position of the user in the coordinate system of the image data of the user satisfies a predetermined condition, the image generating unit is capable of generating the two right and left images in the predetermined mode using the image data specified by the viewing information of the user, and in a case where the viewing position of the user in the coordinate system of the image data of the user does not satisfy the predetermined condition, the image generating unit is capable of generating the two right and left images in the other predetermined mode.

[0018] In a case where the viewing position is within a range of a predetermined distance from an original point of the coordinate system in the image data, the image generating unit is capable of generating the two right and left images in the predetermined mode using the image data specified on the basis of the viewing position of the user, and in a case where the viewing position is not within the range of the predetermined distance from the original point of the coordinate system in the image data, the image generating unit is capable of shifting the viewing position of the user to be the original point of the coordinate system in the image data, and of generating the two right and left images in the other predetermined mode using the image data specified on the basis of the viewing position shifted to be the original point.

[0019] The two right and left images can be two right and left disparity images.

[0020] The image generating unit is capable of gradually shifting the original point of the coordinate system in the image data to the viewing position, and of generating the two right and left disparity images in the other predetermined mode using the image data specified on the basis of the shifted viewing position.

[0021] The image generating unit is capable of gradually shifting the original point of the coordinate system in the image data to the viewing position at each predetermined interval, and of generating the two right and left disparity images in the other predetermined mode using the image data specified on the basis of the shifted viewing position.

[0022] The image generating unit is capable of gradually shifting the original point of the coordinate system in the image data to the viewing position by each predetermined distance ratio, and of generating the two right and left disparity images in the other predetermined mode using the image data specified on the basis of the shifted viewing position.

[0023] The image generating unit is capable of gradually shifting the original point of the coordinate system in the image data to the viewing position, on a shortest path to the viewing position, and of generating the two right and left disparity images in the other predetermined mode using the image data specified on the basis of the shifted viewing position.

[0024] In a case where the viewing position is not within the range of the predetermined distance from the original point of the coordinate system in the image data, and in a case where there is a change in the viewing state of the user, the image generating unit is capable of shifting the viewing position of the user to be the original point of the coordinate system in the image data, and of generating the two right and left disparity images in the other predetermined mode using the image data specified on the basis of the viewing position shifted to be the original point.

[0025] In a case where there is a change in the viewing state of the user, there can be a timing when the user blinks, a timing when the user turns round, and a timing when the user nods.

[0026] A control method of an image processor according to one aspect of the present disclosure is a control method of an image processor of generating two right and left images corresponding to a right eye and a left eye of a user in a predetermined mode using image data specified by viewing information of the user in a case where the viewing information of the user satisfies a predetermined condition, and of generating two right and left images corresponding to the right eye and the left eye of the user in the other predetermined mode different from the predetermined mode in a case where the viewing information of the user does not satisfy the predetermined condition.

[0027] In one aspect of the present disclosure, in a case where the viewing information of the user satisfies the predetermined condition, the two right and left images corresponding to the right eye and the left eye of the user are generated in the predetermined mode using the image data specified by the viewing information of the user, and in a case where the viewing information of the user does not satisfy the predetermined condition, the two right and left images corresponding to the right eye and the left eye of the user are generated in the other predetermined mode different from the predetermined mode.

Advantageous Effects of Invention

[0028] According to one aspect of the present disclosure, in particular, it is possible to suppress a collapse in a disparity image generated at the time of viewing a stereoscopic image using a head mounted display (HMD), and to suppress sickness.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0029] FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating the viewing of a stereoscopic image using an HMD according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0030] FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating the viewing of the stereoscopic image using the HMD according to the embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0031] FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating an example where an original point of the entire celestial image is moved to a viewing position.

[0032] FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating a configuration example of a first embodiment of an HMD system according to the embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0033] FIG. 5 is a diagram illustrating a method of determining the presence or absence of a collapse in a disparity image, and a method of suppressing the collapse.

[0034] FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating display processing of the HMD system of FIG. 4.

[0035] FIG. 7 is a block diagram illustrating a configuration example of a second embodiment of the HMD system according to the embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0036] FIG. 8 is a flowchart illustrating display processing of the HMD system of FIG. 7.

[0037] FIG. 9 is a diagram illustrating an equidistant cylindrical image configuring the entire celestial image.

[0038] FIG. 10 is a diagram illustrating the presence or absence of the collapse in the disparity image according to a viewing direction.

[0039] FIG. 11 is a diagram illustrating an equidistant cylindrical image in the case of not providing a disparity in an image only in the vicinity of a portion where an elevation angle is 90, in a case where the disparity image collapses.

[0040] FIG. 12 is a block diagram illustrating configuration example of a third embodiment of the HMD system according to the embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0041] FIG. 13 is a diagram illustrating display processing of the HMD system of FIG. 12.

[0042] FIG. 14 is a diagram illustrating a modification example of the HMD system of FIG. 12.

[0043] FIG. 15 is a block diagram illustrating an application example of the first embodiment of the HMD system according to the embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0044] FIG. 16 is a diagram illustrating an example where the original point of the entire celestial image is gradually moved to the viewing position.

[0045] FIG. 17 is a flowchart illustrating display processing of the HMD system of FIG. 15.

[0046] FIG. 18 is a diagram illustrating a configuration example of a general-purpose personal computer.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

[0047] Hereinafter, preferred embodiments of the present disclosure will be described in detail with reference to the attached drawings. Furthermore, herein and in the drawings, the same reference numerals are applied to constituents having substantially the same functional configuration, and the repeated description will be omitted.

[0048] Hereinafter, embodiments for carrying out the present technology will be described. The description will be performed in the following order.

1.* First Embodiment*

2.* Second Embodiment*

3.* Third Embodiment*

4.* Modification Example of Third Embodiment*

5.* Application Example of First Embodiment*

6.* Example Executed by Software*

1.* First Embodiment*

[0049] The viewing of a stereoscopic image using a head mount display (HMD) is realized by displaying an image according to a viewing direction of a user wearing the HMD, with respect to right and left eyes, such that a disparity is generated, and by allowing the user to view the image.

[0050] More specifically, the image to be used for viewing the stereoscopic image using the HMD, for example, is referred to the entire celestial image, is an image imaged in all directions from a predetermined original point position, and includes an image for a left eye and an image for a right eye, having a disparity. Furthermore, the entire celestial image is not limited to the imaged image, but may be an image including computer graphics (CG) or the like.

[0051] The HMD detects a position in a space of the user wearing the HMD, face orientation, and a visual line direction, and displays a disparity image including an image for a left eye and an image for a right eye, having a corresponding suitable disparity to be viewed by each of a left eye and a right eye by using an image in a range specified from a viewing position and a viewing direction of the user in the entire celestial image.

[0052] Furthermore, here, the viewing position of the user in the entire celestial image is the position of the user in a coordinate system set in advance by an original point position (an original point O), which is the standard of the entire celestial image. The position in the entire celestial image space is associated with a real space, and in a case where position information of the user in the real space is specified, the position of the associated entire celestial image space is uniquely specified. Accordingly, hereinafter, the viewing position in the entire celestial image space is a position associated with the position information in the real space.

[0053] For example, each of users H1 and H2 illustrated in FIG. 1 wears an HMD 11, and it is considered that an image is displayed as if an object B exists in a predetermined position corresponding to each position of the users H1 and H2 in a space.

[0054] Furthermore, in FIG. 1, a state is illustrated where the object B exists in front of the users H1 and H2, but in the state illustrated in FIG. 1, the object B does not exist in front of the users H1 and H2 in the real space, but the users H1 and H2 are capable of viewing the object B in a positional relationship as illustrated in FIG. 1, by wearing the HMD 11.

[0055] That is, it is shown that the object B exists in a direction directly facing a face orientation direction F11 of the user H1 in FIG. 1. At this time, as illustrated in FIG. 1, both of a visual line direction EL11 of a left eye EL and a visual line direction ER11 of a right eye ER of the user H1 are in a parallel relationship with the face orientation direction F11. Therefore, as illustrated in FIG. 2, the visual line direction E11 which is parallel to the visual line direction EL11 of the left eye EL and the visual line direction ER11 of the right eye ER and includes an intermediate position between the left eye EL and the right eye ER as a start point, is a viewing direction of the user H1.

[0056] Furthermore, FIG. 2 illustrates a relationship between each of face orientation directions F11 and F21 and each of visual line directions E11 and E21, seen from the head of the users H1 and H2 in FIG. 1.

[0057] On the other hand, as illustrated in FIG. 2, the face orientation direction F21 of the user H2 in FIG. 1 is a direction rotated in a right direction by an angle .theta.1 with respect to a direction F11’ parallel to the face orientation direction F11 of the user H1. In addition, in a case where the visual line direction EL21 of the left eye EL and the visual line direction ER21 of the right eye ER of the user H2 of FIG. 1 are parallel to the visual line direction E21 of FIG. 2, the visual line direction E21 is a direction rotated in the right direction by an angle .theta.2 with respect to the face orientation direction F21. Then, the object B exists in the visual line direction E21 of the user H2.

[0058] That is, in the case of the user H2, the visual line direction E21 which is parallel with respect to the visual line direction EL21 of the left eye EL and the visual line direction ER21 of the right eye ER of FIG. 1, and includes an intermediate position between the left eye EL and the right eye ER of FIG. 2 as a start point, is a viewing direction of the user H2.

[0059] As illustrated in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, the visual line direction E11 of the user H1 and the visual line direction E21 of the user H2 are in a relationship of forming an angle (.theta.1+.theta.2) with each other.

[0060] The HMD 11 cuts out an image according to the position of each of the users H1 and H2 and the viewing direction in each of the positions from the entire celestial image, and displays the image as the image for a left eye and the image for a right eye such that a disparity is generated. The users H1 and H2 view each of the image for a right eye and the image for a left eye to be displayed according to each of the positions and each of the viewing directions, with each of the right eye and the left eye, and thus, are capable of viewing each of images as the stereoscopic image.

[0061] However, the entire celestial image, for example, is one or a plurality of sets of images imaged from a viewing point (the original point) which is the standard of an observation point or the like. In addition, the entire celestial image is capable of including depth information which is information of a distance from the viewing position, or of separately applying the corresponding depth information, in pixel unit configuring the image.

[0062] For example, a depth image having the same definition or different definitions, point group data including the depth information, and the like are considered as the depth information. In order to generate and display a viewing image using the entire celestial image including the depth information, it is necessary that the viewing position in the corresponding entire celestial image is specified on the basis of the position information of the user and the information of the viewing direction, a range in the entire celestial image which can be viewed at the time of seeing the viewing direction from the viewing position is specified, an image of the specified range is used, and the disparity image including the image for a left eye and the image for a right eye, having a suitable disparity, is generated and displayed.

[0063] Furthermore, herein, the entire celestial image will be described by using an image including the depth information in pixel unit as an example. Here, it is obvious that the depth information may be separately applied.

[0064] For example, as illustrated in an example St1 in a left portion of FIG. 3, in a case where a viewing position and a viewing direction of the user wearing the HMD 11 in a predetermined space are an ideal viewing position G1 coincident with the original point position O, which is a position of the standard of the entire celestial image and an arrow direction in the drawing is the viewing direction, an image P1 in which predetermined objects BL and BR in the entire celestial image are arranged in an ideal state, is generated as the viewing image. In the image P1, image objects BL1 and BR1 corresponding to the objects BL and BR exist in the vicinity of substantially the center in the image P1.

[0065] Furthermore, in a distribution chart of a left portion in the example St1 of FIG. 3, an X axis represents a horizontal direction in the entire celestial image, and a Z axis represents a depth direction represented by the depth information. Therefore, a Y axis in the entire celestial image is a paper front direction in the drawing. That is, in the left portion of FIG. 3, a positional relationship between a viewing position at the time of seeing an image of a partial range represented by the entire celestial image from an upper side by standing an image plane in a vertical direction with respect to the paper in the drawing, and the positions of the objects BL and BR in the horizontal direction and the depth direction in the image with respect to the viewing position.

[0066] That is, in FIG. 3, when the original point position O, which is a standard position of the entire celestial image, is set to the viewing position G1, the image to be viewed is represented as the image P1. Furthermore, in the images P1 and P2, a horizontal direction is an X axis, and a vertical direction is a Y axis.

[0067] In contrast, in a case where the viewing position of the user is a viewing position G2 shifted in an upper right direction of the left portion of FIG. 3 from the original point O, and an arrow direction in the drawing is the viewing direction, the image P2 in which the predetermined objects BL and BR exist is generated as the viewing image. In the image P2, image objects BL2 and BR2 corresponding to the objects BL and BR exist close to a left end portion in the image P2.

[0068] That is, in the image P2, the image objects BL2 and BR2 are arranged by interpolation processing using the information of the objects BL and BR. For this reason, in a case where a positional shift between the original point O (=G1) and the viewing position G2 is less than a predetermined value, the influence of disparity disorder in the image is small, and in a case where the positional shift between the original point O (=G1) and the viewing position G2 is greater than the predetermined value, the disparity is greatly changed, and thus, there is a concern that the image collapses as the viewing image (the disparity image).

[0069] Therefore, in the HMD 11 of the present disclosure, in a case where the positional shift between the original point O (=G1) and the viewing position G2 is greater than the predetermined value, as illustrated in an example St2 of a right portion of FIG. 3, coordinate conversion is performed such that the viewing position G2 is the original point O in the entire celestial image. The coordinate conversion is performed, and thus, a positional relationship between the objects BL’ and BR’ in the viewing position G2 of the user is similar to a positional relationship between the objects BL and BR when the user is in the original point O (=G1), and thus, the ideal viewing image can be generated, and a collapse in the viewing image (the disparity image) is suppressed.

[0070] FIG. 4 illustrates a configuration example of a first embodiment of an HMD system of the present disclosure. The HMD system of FIG. 4 includes the HMD 11 and an image processor 12.

[0071] As described with reference to FIG. 1 to FIG. 3, the HMD 11 is mounted on the head of the user, detects the position information, which is the position of the head of the user, and the viewing direction, and transmits the detected position information and the viewing direction to the image processor 12.

[0072] The image processor 12 stores the entire celestial image, interpolation-generates the image for a left eye and the image for a right eye, having a suitable disparity, corresponding to the position information and the viewing direction, transmitted from the HMD 11, from the entire celestial image, and transmits the images to the HMD 11.

[0073] The HMD 11 receives the image for a left eye and the image for a right eye, having a suitable disparity, corresponding to the position information and the viewing direction, transmitted from the image processor 12, and allows the user to view the images. Furthermore, hereinafter, the image for a left eye and the image for a right eye, having a corresponding suitable disparity, are also simply referred to as a disparity image, on the basis of the position information and the viewing direction, according to rendering using the entire celestial image.

[0074] According to such a configuration, the user wearing the HMD 11 is capable of viewing the entire celestial image having a suitable disparity, with the right and left eyes according to the face orientation direction and the visual line direction of the user, and is capable of enjoying the feeling of looking into the space represented by the entire celestial image.

[0075] More specifically, the HMD 11 includes a control unit 31, a viewing direction detection unit 32, a position detection unit 33, a communication unit 34, a display unit 35, and an audio output unit 36.

[0076] The control unit 31 controls the entire operation of the HMD 11.

[0077] The viewing direction detection unit 32 detects the viewing direction of the user (a viewer) wearing the HMD 11, and outputs the detected viewing direction to the control unit 31.

[0078] More specifically, the viewing direction detection unit 32 includes a face orientation detection unit 41 and a visual line direction detection unit 42, controls each of the face orientation detection unit 41 and the visual line direction detection unit 42 to detect the face orientation direction and the visual line direction, calculates the viewing direction from the detected face orientation direction and visual line direction, and outputs the calculated viewing direction to the control unit 31.

[0079] The face orientation detection unit 41, for example, includes a motion sensor or the like, and detects the face orientation direction of the user wearing the HMD 11. The face orientation direction, specifically, is a direction towards which the HMD 11 mounted to cover the user’s eyes is directed, and for example, is a direction corresponding to the face orientation directions F11 and F21 of the users H1 and H2 in FIG. 2, respectively.

[0080] That is, the HMD 11 detects a front direction of the HMD 11, as the face orientation direction which is a direction directly facing the center of the face such as a frown of the user wearing the HMD 11. The face orientation direction, for example, is detected as an angle of the front direction of the HMD 11 with respect to a direction which is the standard such as a far north direction.

[0081] The visual line direction detection unit 42, for example, includes a camera or the like imaging the eyeballs of the user wearing the HMD 11, and detects the visual line direction on the basis of the motion of the eyeballs imaged by the camera. The visual line direction, for example, is the visual line directions E11 and E12 of the users H1 and H2 in FIG. 2, and detects the front direction of the HMD 11, that is, an angle of a direction towards which a visual line is directed, with respect to a standard direction such as the face orientation direction, as the visual line direction.

[0082] The viewing direction detection unit 32 calculates the viewing direction from the face orientation direction obtained by the face orientation detection unit 41, and the visual line direction obtained by the visual line direction detection unit 42. More specifically, the viewing direction detection unit 32 calculates the angle (.theta.1+.theta.2), which is the sum of an angle .theta.1 and an angle .theta.2, as the viewing direction of the user H2, from the angle .theta.1 which is the face orientation direction F21 of the user H2 of FIG. 2, and the angle .theta.2 which is the visual line direction E21, and outputs the calculated angle to the control unit 31.

[0083] The position detection unit 33 detects the position information of the HMD 11 as the position information of the user, and outputs the detected position information to the control unit 31. The position detection unit 33 may have any configuration as long as the position of the HMD 11 in the real space can be detected. That is, the position detection unit 33, for example, may include a global positioning system (GPS) or the like, and may detect the position information including a latitude and a longitude on the earth. In addition, the position detection unit 33 may include an imaging device imaging the periphery of the HMD 11, a calculation device, a direction detection device, and the like, the calculation device may store in advance position information of the peripheral object, and may calculate the position information of the HMD 11, from a positional relationship between an imaging direction of the imaging device and the peripheral object in the imaged image.

[0084] The control unit 31 controls the communication unit 34 performing communication using a wireless local area network (LAN), Bluetooth (Registered Trademark), or the like, combines the information of the viewing direction where the HMD 11 is mounted, which is input from the viewing direction detection unit 32 with the position information of the HMD 11, which is input from the position detection unit 33, and causes the communication unit 34 to transmit the combined information to the image processor 12.

[0085] In addition, the control unit 31 controls the communication unit 34, and receives the disparity image which is transmitted from the image processor 12 on the basis of the position information of the HMD 11 and the information of the viewing direction. At this time, audio data corresponding to the disparity image may be included.

[0086] Further, the control unit 31 displays the image for a left eye on the display unit 35 to be viewed with the left eye of the user wearing the HMD 11, and displays the image for a right eye on the display unit 35 to be viewed with the right eye of the user wearing the HMD 11. At this time, in a case where the audio data is included, the control unit 31 may output an audio from the audio output unit 36 such as a speaker or a headphone.

[0087] The display unit 35 includes an organic electro-luminescence (EL), a liquid crystal display (LCD), or the like, includes a display portion for a left eye (not illustrated) displaying the image for a left eye to be viewed with the left eye and a display portion for a right eye (not illustrated) displaying the image for a right eye to be viewed with the right eye, and displays the image for a left eye and the image for a right eye, configuring the disparity image supplied from the control unit 31, on the display portion for a left eye and the display portion for a right eye, respectively.

[0088] The user wears the HMD 11, views the image for a left eye displayed on the display portion for a left eye with the left eye, and views the image for a right eye displayed on the display portion for a right eye with the right eye, in the display unit 35, and thus, is capable of viewing a stereoscopic image according to a disparity between the image for a left eye and the image for a right eye. At this time, an image according to the motion of the HMD 11 mounted on the user is displayed, and thus, the user is capable of enjoying the feeling of looking into the space represented by the entire celestial image.

[0089] The image processor 12 includes a control unit 51, a communication unit 52, a rendering unit 53, and a contents storage unit 54.

[0090] The control unit 51 controls the entire operation of the image processor 12. In addition, the control unit 51 controls the communication unit 52 performing communication using a wireless local area network (LAN), Bluetooth (Registered Trademark), or the like, and causes the communication unit 52 to receive the position information of the HMD 11 and the information of the viewing direction, supplied from the HMD 11. The control unit 51 gives instruction such that the position information of the HMD 11 and the information of the viewing direction, received from the HMD 11, is output to the rendering unit 53, and the corresponding disparity image is generated.

[0091] The contents storage unit 54 stores the contents including the entire celestial image, and as necessary, supplies the contents to the rendering unit 53. In the contents storage unit 54, in a case where there are a plurality of contents including the stored entire celestial image, and the position information of the HMD 11 and the information of the viewing direction are included, the control unit 51 may combine the information designating the plurality of contents stored in advance in the contents storage unit 54, and output the combined information to the rendering unit 53.

[0092] The rendering unit 53 reads out data of the entire celestial image of the contents stored in the contents storage unit 54, generates the disparity image according to rendering, on the basis of the position information and the information of the viewing direction, supplied from the control unit 51, and outputs the generated disparity image to the control unit 51. In a case where the audio data is included in the contents, the rendering unit 53 also outputs the audio data to the control unit 51.

[0093] More specifically, the rendering unit 53 includes a viewing position determination unit 61 and a rendering calculation unit 62.

[0094] When the disparity image corresponding to the viewing position and the viewing direction, using the original point position (hereinafter, also referred to as the original point O) of the entire celestial image as the standard, is generated according to the rendering, the viewing position determination unit 61 determines whether there is a collapse in the generated disparity image on the basis of the position information of the user wearing the HMD 11, and supplies a determination result to the rendering calculation unit 62.

[0095] More specifically, the viewing position determination unit 61 determines whether or not there is a collapse in the disparity image according to whether or not the viewing position of the user in the entire celestial image is within a range Z11 in a predetermined distance from the original point O represented by a dotted line in the drawing, with respect to the original point O, on the basis of the depth information of the entire celestial image, which is a subject distance in each pixel unit, as illustrated in a left portion of FIG. 5. Furthermore, the radius of the range Z11, for example, is set according to a condition such as an application program. Therefore, even in the same viewing position, the presence or absence of a collapse is different according to the application program.

[0096] For example, as illustrated in a viewing position G11 in the left portion of FIG. 5, in a case where the viewing position is out of the range Z11, it is considered that a collapse in the disparity image occurs.

[0097] On the other hand, for example, in a case where the viewing position is within the range Z11, it is considered that the disparity image having a suitable disparity can be interpolation-generated according to the rendering, and thus, it is considered that a collapse does not occur.

[0098] The rendering calculation unit 62 specifies the viewing position in the entire celestial image corresponding to the position information and the information of the viewing direction, on the basis of the determination result of the viewing position determination unit 61, generates the disparity image having a suitable disparity according to the rendering by using an image in a range of the entire celestial image at the time of seeing the viewing direction from the specified viewing position, and outputs the generated disparity image to the control unit 51.

[0099] More specifically, in a case where the determination result of the viewing position determination unit 61 is a result indicating that there is no collapse in the disparity image corresponding to the viewing position and the viewing direction with respect to the specified entire celestial image, the rendering calculation unit 62 specifies the viewing position corresponding to the coordinate system using the original point position of the entire celestial image (the original point O in FIG. 3) as the standard, on the basis of the position information, specifies the range of the entire celestial image at the time of seeing the viewing direction from the viewing position, interpolation-generates the disparity image in the specified range according to the rendering, and outputs the generated disparity image to the control unit 51.

[0100] On the other hand, in a case where the determination result of the viewing position determination unit 61, for example, is a result indicating that there is a collapse, the rendering calculation unit 62 shifts the viewing position specified on the basis of the position information to the original point position of the entire celestial image (the original point O in FIG. 3), specifies the range of the entire celestial image at the time of seeing the viewing direction, and generates the disparity image in the specified range according to the rendering.

[0101] As described above, in a case where it is determined that there is a collapse, as illustrated in a right portion of FIG. 5, the current viewing position G11 of the coordinate system in the entire celestial image is subjected to coordinate conversion to be coincident with the original point O in the entire celestial image.

[0102] According to such coordinate conversion, images at the time of seeing the viewing direction from the viewing position in the coordinate system of the entire celestial image can be ideally arranged as illustrated in the objects BL1 and BR1 in the image P1 of FIG. 3, a collapse can be prevented, and the disparity image including the image for a left eye and the image for a right eye, having a suitable disparity, can be generated according to the rendering.

<Display Processing of HMD System of FIG. 4>

[0103] Next, display processing of the HMD system of FIG. 4 will be described, with reference to a flowchart of FIG. 6.

[0104] In Step S11, the position detection unit 33 detects the position information of the HMD 11, and outputs the detected position information to the control unit 31.

[0105] In Step S12, the viewing direction detection unit 32 controls the visual line direction detection unit 42, and for example, causes the visual line direction detection unit 42 to detect the visual line direction of the user from an image obtained by imaging the eyeballs of the user wearing the HMD 11.

[0106] In Step S13, the viewing direction detection unit 32 controls the face orientation detection unit 41, and for example, causes the face orientation detection unit 41 to detect the face orientation direction of the user by detecting the direction of the HMD 11 mounted on the user, with a motion sensor or the like.

[0107] In Step S14, the viewing direction detection unit 32 calculates the viewing direction by using the detected visual line direction and the detected face orientation direction, and outputs the calculated viewing direction to the control unit 31.

[0108] In Step S15, the control unit 31 controls the communication unit 34, and causes the communication unit 34 to transmit the information of the viewing direction supplied from the viewing direction detection unit 32, and the information combined with the position information supplied from the position detection unit 33 to the image processor 12.

[0109] In Step S31, the communication unit 52 of the image processor 12 receives the position information of the HMD 11, and the information of the viewing direction, transmitted from the HMD 11, and outputs the received information to the control unit 51. The control unit 51 outputs the acquired position information of the HMD 11, and the acquired information of the viewing direction to the rendering unit 53.

[0110] In Step S32, the rendering unit 53 controls the viewing position determination unit 61, causes the viewing position determination unit 61 to obtain the viewing position in the entire celestial image, which is the contents corresponding to the position information according to the rendering of the rendering calculation unit 62, on the basis of the position information and the information of the viewing direction, and determines whether or not there is a collapse in the disparity image from the obtained viewing position.

[0111] That is, as described with reference to FIG. 5, the viewing position determination unit 61, for example, determines the presence or absence of a collapse on the basis of whether or not the viewing position, for example, is in the predetermined range Z11 from the original point O.

[0112] In Step S32, in a case where it is determined that there is a collapse, the processing proceeds to Step S33.

[0113] In Step S33, the rendering unit 53 performs coordinate conversion such that the original point O of the coordinate system in the entire celestial image, which is the contents, is shifted to the viewing position, with respect to the rendering calculation unit 62.

[0114] In Step S34, the rendering unit 53 controls the rendering calculation unit 62, and causes the rendering calculation unit 62 to read out the contents including the data of the entire celestial image from the contents storage unit 54.

[0115] In Step S35, the rendering unit 53 controls the rendering calculation unit 62, and causes the rendering calculation unit 62 to interpolation-generate the disparity image according to the rendering by using an image in a range at the time of seeing the viewing direction from the viewing position in the entire celestial image, which is the contents, and output the generated disparity image to the control unit 51.

[0116] In Step S36, the control unit 51 controls the communication unit 52, and causes the communication unit 52 to transmit the disparity image which is interpolation-generated according to the rendering, to the HMD 11.

[0117] Furthermore, in Step S32, in a case where it is determined that there is no collapse, the processing of Step S33 is skipped. That is, in a case where there is no collapse, the disparity image is interpolation-generated according to the rendering from an image specified with respect to the viewing direction from the viewing position in the coordinate system using the original point O in the original entire celestial image as the standard.

[0118] In Step S15, the control unit 31 controls the communication unit 34, and causes the communication unit 34 to receive the disparity image based on the viewing direction and the position information, transmitted from the image processor 12.

[0119] In Step S16, the control unit 31 displays the received disparity image on the display unit 35, and allows the user to view the image for a left eye and the image for a right eye with the left eye and the right eye of the user, respectively.

[0120] In Step S17, an operation unit (not illustrated) is operated, and thus, the control unit 31 determines whether or not the end of the processing is instructed.

[0121] In Step S17, in a case where the end is not instructed, the processing returns to Step S11, and the subsequent processings are repeated, and in a case where the end is instructed, the processing is ended.

[0122] In addition, in a case where the processing of Step S36 is ended, in Step S37, the control unit 51 determines whether or not the end is instructed, and in a case where it is not determined that the end is instructed, the processing returns to Step S31, and the subsequent processings are repeated. Then, in Step S37, the end of the processing is instructed, and the processing is ended.

[0123] According to the processings described above, in a case where it is determined that there is a collapse in the disparity image generated according to the rendering, on the basis of the viewing position in the entire celestial image, which is obtained according to the position information of the HMD 11, the coordinate conversion is performed such that the viewing position in the entire celestial image at the time of generating the disparity image is shifted to the original point position in the entire celestial image, and thus, it is possible to suppress a collapse in the disparity image.

[0124] In other words, in a case where the viewing position is within the predetermined range, the disparity image according to the viewing position is displayed, and in a case where the viewing position is out of the predetermined range, the disparity image of the original point position is displayed by being switched with the disparity image according to the viewing position. That is, in a case where the viewing position is within the predetermined range, the rendering unit 53 generates the disparity image according to the viewing position (a normal disparity image), as a first mode, and in a case where the viewing position is out of the predetermined range, generates the disparity image of the original point position but not of the viewing position, as a second mode. As a result thereof, the disparity image is generated by switching the modes according to the viewing position, and thus, it is possible to suppress a collapse in the disparity image.

2.* Second Embodiment*

[0125] In the above description, an example has been described in which when the disparity image is generated, the presence or absence of a collapse in the disparity image to be interpolation-generated is determined on the basis of the viewing position in the entire celestial image corresponding to the position information of the HMD 11, and in a case where it is considered that there is a collapse, the viewing position in the entire celestial image based on the position information is shifted to the original point O, and thus, a collapse in the disparity image is suppressed.

[0126] However, in a case where the viewing position in the entire celestial image is immediately shifted to the original point position at a timing when it is determined that there is a collapse in the disparity image, on the basis of the position information of the HMD 11 and the information of the viewing direction of the user, and the disparity image having no collapse is generated immediately before the timing, the viewing position in the entire celestial image is rapidly changed, and thus, there is a possibility that so-called sickness according to the viewing of the stereoscopic image is induced.

[0127] Therefore, instead of immediately shifting the viewing position in the entire celestial image to the original point position at a timing where it is determined that there is a collapse in the disparity image, on the basis of the position information of the HMD 11 and the information of the viewing direction of the user, the coordinate conversion of shifting the viewing position in the entire celestial image to the original point position may be performed at a timing when the viewing of the stereoscopic image by the user is factually temporarily interrupted, for example, when the user blinks.

[0128] FIG. 7 illustrates a configuration example of an HMD system in which in a case where it is determined that there is a collapse in the disparity image, the coordinate conversion of shifting the viewing position in the entire celestial image to the original point position is performed only at a timing when the viewing of the stereoscopic image by the user is temporarily interrupted, for example, when the user blinks.

[0129] In the HMD system of FIG. 7, the same reference numerals are applied to configurations having the same function as that of the configurations of the HMD system of FIG. 4, and the description thereof will be suitably omitted.

[0130] That is, the HMD system of FIG. 7 differs from the HMD system of FIG. 4 in that a blink detection unit 91 detecting the blink of the user is provided in the viewing direction detection unit 32 of the HMD 11, and a blink determination unit 101 is provided in the rendering unit 53 of the image processor 12.

[0131] The blink detection unit 91 in the viewing direction detection unit 32 of the HMD 11, for example, detects the presence or absence of the blink by using the image of the eyeballs of the user, which is used in the visual line direction detection unit 42, and outputs a detection result to the control unit 31. The control unit 31 controls the communication unit 34 and causes communication unit 34 to transmit the information of the presence or absence of the blink to the image processor 12, along with the position information and the information of the viewing direction.

[0132] The blink determination unit 101 in the rendering unit 53 of the image processor 12 determines the presence or absence of the blink, on the basis of the information of the presence or absence of the blink, which is transmitted from the HMD 11, and outputs the determination result to the rendering calculation unit 62.

[0133] Even in a case where it is determined that there is a collapse in the disparity image at the time of generating the disparity image, the rendering calculation unit 62 does not move the viewing position in the entire celestial image to the original point O, but generates the disparity image according to the rendering, at a timing when the blink is not detected. That is, in such a case, a possibility that the disparity image collapses is high, but it is possible to prevent sickness due to a rapid change in the viewing position from occurring.

[0134] On the other hand, in a case where it is determined that there is a collapse in the disparity image at the time of generating the disparity image, the rendering calculation unit 62 moves the viewing point in the entire celestial image to the original point position (the original point O), and generates the disparity image according to the rendering, at a timing when the blink is detected. That is, in such a case, the viewing of the stereoscopic image is temporarily interrupted at a timing when the blink is detected, and then, the viewing position is changed, and thus, it is possible to suppress a collapse in the disparity image while preventing the sickness due to the viewing of the stereoscopic image from occurring.

<Display Processing of HMD System of FIG. 7>

[0135] Next, display processing of the HMD system of FIG. 7 will be described with reference to a flowchart of FIG. 8.

[0136] Furthermore, the processings of Steps S51 to S54, and S57 to S59, and the processings of Steps S71, S72, and S74 to S78 in the flowchart of FIG. 8, are similar to the processings of Steps S11 to S14, and S16 to S18, and the processings of Steps S31 to S37 in the flowchart of FIG. 6, and the description thereof will be omitted.

[0137] That is, in Step S55, the blink detection unit 91 detects the presence or absence of the blink, on the basis of the image of the eyeballs imaged in order to detect the visual line direction in the visual line direction detection unit 42, and outputs a detection result to the control unit 31.

[0138] In Step S56, the control unit 31 controls the communication unit 34 and causes the communication unit 34 to transmit information in which the information of the viewing direction supplied from the viewing direction detection unit 32, the position information supplied from the position detection unit 33, and the information of the presence or absence of the blink supplied from the blink detection unit 91 are combined, to the image processor 12.

[0139] In addition, in Step S72, in a case where the viewing position in the entire celestial image specified on the basis of the position information is out of a predetermined range, and it is considered that there is a collapse in the disparity image, in Step S73, the blink determination unit 101 determines the presence or absence of the blink.

[0140] In Step S73, in a case where it is determined that the blink is detected, the processing proceeds to Step S74.

[0141] In Step S74, the rendering calculation unit 62 performs the coordinate conversion such that the viewing position based on the position information is shifted to the original point O in the entire celestial image.

[0142] In addition, in Step S73, in a case where it is considered that the blink is not detected, the processing of Step S74 is skipped, and the disparity image is generated by an image in a range specified at the time of seeing the viewing direction in the viewing position without shifting the viewing position to the original point O.

[0143] According to the processing described above, even in a case where there is a collapse in the disparity image to be interpolation-generated according to the rendering, according to the viewing position in the entire celestial image, the viewing position is shifted to the original point O, and the disparity image is interpolation-generated according to the rendering, only at a timing when the blink is detected, and thus, only when the user blinks, it is possible to interpolation-generate the disparity image in which the viewing position is switched to the original point O, and to prevent sickness due to a rapid change in the viewing position in the viewing of the stereoscopic image from occurring.

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