UBC has received a pledge from Dolby Laboratories, Inc. to provide $1.15 million in funding to support research in High-Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging technologies.
HDR display technology replaces the single backlight in a typical LCD screen with hundreds of small light-emitting diodes providing outstanding contrast and crisp brightness to deliver picture quality that matches real-world perception of depth, detail, and color.
The core technology in HDR was invented by a team of researchers led by UBC physicist Lorne Whitehead and spun off Brightside Technologies, which was acquired by Dolby last year.
"We are grateful for Dolby’s recognition and support of UBC’s leadership in this eye-opening technology," says John Hepburn, UBC’s Vice President, Research. "The partnership will accelerate the development of HDR for industry and consumers."
"Dolby aims to provide customers with technologies that improve the overall entertainment experience--whether it's with the highest quality audio or image technology solutions," said Steve Forshay, Senior Vice President, Research, Dolby Laboratories. "We're eager to see the innovation that results from our support of education and collaboration with the University of British Columbia."
The funding will establish the Dolby Computer Science Research Chair and the Dolby Professorship in Digital Multimedia Endowment in the faculties of Science and Applied Science, respectively.
The Chair will support work underway by Computer Science Assoc. Prof. Wolfgang Heidrich, whose research has already resulted in image processing algorithms that are a key part of Dolby’s HDR display technology.
"HDR gets us much closer to the range of contrast we see in the real world," says Heidrich. "The brights get brighter, the darks darker. The results are simply striking."
Heidrich’s research also includes development of new HDR applications--displays, content authoring tools, and software for converting legacy video to HDR--as well as fundamental research into how humans perceive extreme contrast and colour.
Dolby will also support UBC Electrical and Computer Engineering Assoc. Prof. Panos Nasiopoulos’s research into devices capable of capturing, compressing and delivering HDR images.
"The multimedia and entertainment sectors depend heavily on highly qualified personnel, such as the students who will work on state-of-the-art HDR technologies in our labs," says Nasiopoulos. "Our close collaboration with Dolby will give us a distinct competitive advantage over other universities, and will provide the industry with a pool of scientific talent."