06 November 2009

New £1.5 million Media Laboratory launched

Colchester Campus

Professor Simeonidou with members of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering in the lab

The University of Essex unveiled its eagerly-anticipated £1.5 million Networked Media Laboratory on 12 November.

This major facility offers unique transmission and visual capabilities and will help scientists at the University’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering to address the ever-increasing demands of Ultra High Definition (UHD) and other emerging media formats beyond the present day HD.

With its advanced presentation facilities, including 3D, combined with a high performance experimental network, it is no surprise the laboratory has already sparked interest from major TV networks, Hollywood and Bollywood who all have a keen interest in emerging new media formats.

The new laboratory, managed by Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, was launched with a special workshop and showcase event where a range of UHD and 3D content was shown to guests from around the world. One demonstration showed an UHD video streamed in real time from the Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Centre (PSNC) in Poland, to the University of Essex. This connection was achieved via dedicated high speed links through national and European research network infrastructures.

Technological advances in the world of video capture, presentation and digital processing have revolutionised the way we create, process and consume content. This means that everything from education and entertainment to medicine and communications are more and more reliant on ultra high quality and high performance networks.

However, streaming these emerging media formats over the Internet today is not possible without a substantial deterioration of their quality.

This state-of-the-art laboratory offers advanced presentation facilities, including 3D imaging, combined with a high performance experimental network to enable the design and implementation of services specifically created for high quality, large-scale digital media, including support for extremely high volume media streams.

The research will represent a major departure from traditional Internet-based digital media systems, which have limited capabilities for supporting very high-capacity streams.

With this laboratory, Essex now offers a unique open test-bed for future digital media innovation, as well as for other data-intensive applications with advanced visual requirements.

The new laboratory’s highly advanced visualisation features will be of particular interest to the medical and scientific world where there is the need for ultra high resolution images to be transferred in real time without losing quality, enabling for example reliable, remote diagnoses of patients.

With its visual capabilities and network connectivity with other leading media laboratories around the globe, the new laboratory will be a unique facility and will set Essex ahead of its national partners in terms of research and development for emerging new media formats.

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