Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Point Cloud Codec for Tele-Immersive Video

April 2017
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We present a generic and real-time time-varying point cloud codec for 3D immersive video. This codec is suitable for mixed reality applications in which 3D point clouds are acquired at a fast rate. In this codec, intra frames are coded progressively in an octree subdivision. To further exploit interframe dependencies, we present an inter-prediction algorithm that partitions the octree voxel space in N × N × N macroblocks (N = 8, 1632). 

The algorithm codes points in these blocks in the predictive frame as a rigid transform applied to the points in the intra-coded frame. The rigid transform is computed using the iterative closest point algorithm and compactly represented in a quaternion quantization scheme. To encode the color attributes, we defined a mapping of color per vertex attributes in the traversed octree to an image grid and use legacy image coding method based on JPEG

As a result, a generic compression framework suitable for realtime 3D tele-immersion is developed. This framework has been optimized to run in real time on commodity hardware for both the encoder and decoder. Objective evaluation shows that a higher rate-distortion performance is achieved compared with available point cloud codecs. A subjective study in a state-of-the-art mixed reality system shows that introduced prediction distortions are negligible compared with the original reconstructed point clouds. In addition, it shows the benefit of reconstructed point cloud video as a representation in the 3D virtual world. The codec is available as open source for integration in immersive and augmented communication applications and serves as a base reference software platform in JTC1/SC29/WG11 (MPEG) for the further development of standardized point-cloud compression solutions.

Published in: IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology ( Volume: 27, Issue: 4, April 2017)

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