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Stanford's Video Processing in the Cloud Allows Interactive Streaming of Online Lectures

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Postdoctoral student Ngai-Man Cheung and graduate students Sherif Halawa and Derek Pang are writing algorithms for Stanford's ClassX project.

Photo courtesy of Stanford University

Stanford University researchers recently released the program code for ClassX, software that converts static videos of class lectures into interactive online video streams.

The researchers simplified the recording equipment to a tripod, a wireless microphone, and a high-definition camcorder. The software enables the viewer to zoom and pan around the room during playback, and it also works in the cloud, requiring only a Web browser for access.

The ClassX Web site currently contains 25 courses, as well as seminars and workshops. The software divides the original video into smaller parts and considers each of them its own video stream. The server stores the parts in different resolutions, and reduces the amount of information sent while streaming by transmitting only those parts that a user requests.

ClassX automatically analyzes the video using computer-vision algorithms, putting the parts back together. The system is still experimental as the researchers are working on how the software will handle the unpredictability of wireless networks, devices' reduced battery life, and the limited computing power of mobile devices.

From Stanford Report
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