System automatically converts 2-D video to 3-D reports that by exploiting the graphics-rendering software that powers sports video games, researchers at MIT and the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) have developed a system that automatically converts 2-D video of soccer games into 3-D.

The converted video can be played back over any 3-D device — a commercial 3-D TV, Google’s new Cardboard system, which turns smartphones into 3-D displays, or special-purpose displays such as Oculus Rift.

The researchers presented the new system last week at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Multimedia conference.

“Any TV these days is capable of 3-D,” says Wojciech Matusik, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and one of the system’s co-developers. “There’s just no content. So we see that the production of high-quality content is the main thing that should happen. But sports is very hard. With movies, you have artists who paint the depth map. Here, there is no luxury of hiring 100 artists to do the conversion. This has to happen in real-time.”


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