Mr. Anthony Tannoury, Lecturer and Researcher at Université Antonine’s faculty of Engineering, is certainly the person you should ask about multimedia engineering. This major, which isn’t widespread in Lebanese universities, is often misinterpreted, as multimedia, which consists of audio and/or video content, tends to be solely associated to graphic design graduates. However, it is very much dependent of engineers, as it relies on the right technology, software and structure to function right. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are, for example, multimedia projects developed by computer engineers, aka programmers. They are being used, more than ever now, in all kinds of domains and for unlimited purposes, some of which are discussed below. The same applies to Games applications which require a map development, interfacing, code writing, designing, etc.
Multimedia engineering also refers to multimedia solutions to insure proper interactivity between the user and the device supporting the content.
Concretely, Mr. Tannoury told Unileb about a final project at the Faculty of Engineering, which consists of detecting music in a user’s car, allowing Google Maps to detect locations playing similar music and suggesting them to the driver. This mood detection obviously requires a mobile app, linked to Google Maps and a sound processing system; it opens up countless marketing opportunities.
Games and Technologies
UA is one of the very few universities offering a games development program where 2D and 3D games count as senior projects.
Though the word “game” might typically refer to fun, it is actually quite useful in education, amongst other things. Mr. Tannoury previously worked at Pearson College London, in collaboration with the Educational Research Center (ERC) in Lebanon, where he developed games for e-learning and education, so students can learn in an innovative, fun and interactive way.
Whenever gaming includes AR and VR (see Unileb’s “Mixed Up Realities” article on the subject), the utility of a game reaches its peak: instead of relying on a static board or book, students can get into the 3rd dimension with the VR glasses, and go inside a human body where pop ups explain everything they need to know about each organ. They can learn about animals by paying a virtual visit to a zoo, stopping by each animal to learn more about it, without the presence of a guide.
As a collateral result, many jobs are slowly being threatened with the presence of the technological realities; but on the other hand, they are triggering major marketing and business possibilities:
- Imagine being able to see the items of shopping catalog in 3D, simply by using your smart phone. Better, imagine if you could virtually try the item. This was part of a student’s final project, last year, at Université Antonine’s branch in Zahleh, where he aimed to put AR at the service of e-commerce.
- Another project suggested virtual house decoration. How practical would it be to view different colors and materials right in your space and pick accordingly? Same can be applied to a car you intend to buy from a car dealer.
- Away from business and into the Military: simulation can be used for soldiers when shoot practicing. Instead of using real munitions, they get to shoot on screens which are not only less costly, but also register and track their performances, which can then be peculiarly evaluated and corrected.
Augmented Reality is everywhere now; that was discussed during the Open Day for Data Science Forum, 2016, which took place last month at UA, in the presence of a number of renowned speakers. Dr. Jimmy Nassif, Project Lead AI & VR at BMW Logistics, explained how multimedia is becoming a customer requirement: with the help of glasses, the driver can see a virtual board in front of him, including a speedometer, the fuel level, time remaining to destination, location search through google maps…etc. On some cars, a heart rate sensor is being installed for the driver to be able to detect any abnormality; in case of problem, the closest emergency building is located; those are just a few examples.
3D Scene reconstruction
Mr. Tannoury’s thesis focuses mainly on how to reconstruct a 3D scene through the wireless multimedia sensor network. The use of multiple cameras connected through the internet, to a sensor network and capturing all angles of a space/object/body, provides a 360 view in real time; the data is then sent to a server to reconstruct the image. Segmentation is done on the environment, objects and individual; therefore, every single detail is seen. This means that any threat can be detected and alerted on the spot. This feature is without a doubt extremely useful, compared to conventional surveillance cameras which film a certain space but rely on an agent to observe 24/7 what is being filmed. In a different case, bridges can be supervised by filming them with the 3D reconstruction system which then detects any cracks or irregularities. And the list of examples goes on. The internet not only makes this possible but opens up prospects for people and business worldwide.
Naturally, every new technology brings safety concerns along with its benefits, and it is expected that users would be suspicious with sensor networking. But then again, everyone was hesitant, at first, to use e-commerce for online shopping? It goes back to using every new technology the right way. The safety topic was brought up during the ODDS’16 forum; it was suggested that all domains and sectors work together to create a stronger and safer system.
It is pretty clear and obvious that possibilities are endless; this is probably what the creators aimed for: reach the world.