Image Processing Reference
ated remotely. Otherwise, how can the operating surgeon “feel” what the instrument is
doing on the remote servo-operated system? Game players have used force-feedback sys-
tems for some time. The challenge is to adapt this for other situations and maintain a totally
synchronized remote experience. Video compression is a critical technology that allows
multiple simultaneous camera views to be delivered over long distances. This will also
work well for MRI, ultrasound, and X-ray-imaging systems that could all have their output
fed in real time to a remote surgeon. The requirements here are for very high resolution. X-
ray images need to be digitized in grayscale to increased bit depths and at a much higher
resolution than TV. This obviously increases the amount of data to be transferred.
Young people often have an immediate grasp of technology and readily participate in
interactive games and educational uses of video and computing systems. The education
community has fully embraced computer simulation, games, and interactive software.
Some of the most advanced CD-ROM products were designed for educational purposes.
With equal enthusiasm, the education community has embraced the Internet, mainly by
way of Web sites. Video compression provides opportunities to deploy an even richer kind
of media for use in educational systems. This enhances the enjoyment of consumers when
they participate. Indeed, it may be the only way to enfranchise some special-needs chil-
dren who already have learning difficulties.
Online Support and Customer Services
Online help systems may be implemented with video-led tuition. When designing and
implementing such a system, it is important to avoid alienating the user. Presenting users
with an experience that feels like talking to a machine would be counterproductive.
Automated answering systems already bother some users due to the sterile nature of the
interchange. An avatar-based help system might fare no better and present an unsatisfy-
ing experience unless it is backed up by well-designed artificial intelligence.
Online gaming and betting could be categorized as entertainment. Uses of video com-
pression with other forms of entertainment are also possible. DVD sales have taken off
faster than anyone could ever have predicted. They are cheap to manufacture and provide
added-value features that can enhance the viewer's enjoyment.
The MPEG-4 standard offers packaging for interactive material in a way that the cur-
rent DVD specification cannot match. Hybrid DVD disks with MPEG-4 interactive content
and players with MPEG-4 support could herald a renaissance in content authoring simi-
lar to what took place in the mid-1990s with CD-ROMs.
The more video can be compressed into smaller packages without losing quality, the
better the experience for the viewer within the same delivery form factor (disk) or capac-
ity (bit rate).