Panoramic stereo imaging system with automatic disparity warping and seaming
Two commonly used approaches for building a virtual reality (VR) world are the model-based approach and the image-based approach. Recently, the image-based approach has received much attention for its advantages of being easier to build a VR model and of being able to provide photo-realistic views. However, traditional image-based VR systems cannot produce the stereo views that can give the users the feeling of 3D depth. In this paper, we present a panoramic stereo imaging (PSI) system which can produce stereo panoramas for image-based VR systems. This PSI system is referred to as the PSI-II system, which is an improved system of our previous experimental PSI-I system. The PSI-I system uses a well-calibrated tripod system to acquire a series of stereo image pairs, while the PSI-II system does not require the use of a well-calibrated tripod system and can automatically generate a stereo-pair of panoramic images by using a novel disparity warping technique and a hierarchical seaming algorithm. Our PSI-II system can automatically correct the epipolar-line inconsistency of the stereo images pairs and the image disparity caused by the dislocation of the camera's lens center in the image acquisition process. Our experiments have shown that the proposed method can easily provide realistic 360 panoramic views for image-based VR systems.