[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 10-Oct-2012
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Contact: EPSRC Press Office
pressoffice@epsrc.ac.uk
01-793-444-404
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Maths to turn people's media into national news

Technology will put the power to make news into the hands of ordinary people and revolutionise the way the vast reservoir of the public's digital content is handled thanks to new research, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Automatically amalgamated, time sequenced packages of digital images and audio from individuals at major news events, such as the 7/7 bombings or the Olympic Games, could soon be transforming the content of news broadcasts.

'Multisource audio-visual production from user-generated content' is led by Professor Andrea Cavallaro who is based at the School of Electronic Engineering & Computer Science, Queen Mary University of London and starts in October 2012.

It will investigate ways of taking digital content from multiple sources, such as people's mobile phones or cameras. It will aim to automatically filter and mix it to provide packages for editors to include in news broadcasts from breaking events such as; protests, disaster scenes, sports events and music concerts.

The research's focus is on being able to use artificial intelligence and complex mathematical calculations to combine crowd-generated footage of an event and generate professional standard reportage from it. These algorithms will be used to identify edits and links between events, such as timings and viewpoints. This will also be relevant to security, as a means of wading through a vast quantity of CCTV footage.

Professor Cavallaro said: "The large amount of data increasingly available and their varying quality makes the selection and editing of appropriate multimedia items quickly very difficult. This limits the opportunity to gather this data for security, cultural and entertainment applications. We will devise new ways to handle content from multiple sources to improve audiovisual production and to enable synchronisation and processing. This will, in turn, allow generation of novel and higher quality audio-visual rendering of captured events."

This research will go beyond the work that is currently taking place elsewhere that allows people to stitch together footage at for example, a concert or school play, where the music can be used as a handy click-track to synchronise the video.

David Delpy, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) said: "This research is an exciting use of maths and ICT through our Digital Economy theme and will undoubtedly have implications for both how information is exchanged and news is reported. It will be revolutionary in opening up who contributes content to news broadcasts and support the development of video-based citizen journalism. It is also a good example of how developments in the sciences and engineering have a wider societal impact."

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For further information:

Richard Tibenham, Media Relations Manager, EPSRC Press Office
T: 01793 444 404 - pressoffice@epsrc.ac.uk

For interviews or comment contact:

Professor Andrea Cavallaro, Ph.D
Professor of Multimedia Signal Processing School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science
Queen Mary University of London
T: 0207 882 5165 - andrea.cavallaro@elec.qmul.ac.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS:

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and physical sciences. EPSRC invests around 800m a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK (RCUK).

Queen Mary, University of London is one of the UK's leading research-focused higher education institutions with some 16,900 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Amongst the largest of the colleges of the University of London, Queen Mary is a member of the Russell Group, which represents the 24 leading universities in the UK.

Queen Mary's 3,800 staff deliver world class degree programmes and research across 21 academic departments and institutes, within three sectors: Science and Engineering; Humanities, Social Sciences and Laws; and the School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Queen Mary is ranked 11th in the UK according to the Guardian analysis of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, and has been described as 'the biggest star among the research-intensive institutions' by the Times Higher Education.

The College has a strong international reputation, with around 20 per cent of students coming from over 100 countries. Queen Mary has an annual turnover of 300 million, research income worth 70 million, and generates employment and output worth 600 million to the UK economy each year.

The College is unique amongst London's universities in being able to offer a completely integrated residential campus, with a 2,000-bed award-winning Student Village on its Mile End campus.



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