Media Computing & Networking Lab
Hwangjun Song (Computer Science & Engineering)
Just two decades ago, our technology operated at a much slower pace: delays were normally expected as we streamed video content online. Today, our threshold of tolerance for such “glacial” speeds have closed to near intolerance when such media as 360-degree virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) is interrupted, not to mention high-resolution video streaming. Such significantly reduced wait times have been largely made possible through network technology that enables the reliable supply of media to computers, smartphones or any other devices, in addition to shortened communication speeds.
The Media Computing & Networking Laboratory directed by Professor Hwangjun Song at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, POSTECH, develops the technology required for high-quality media streaming services. Its recent research endeavors focus on 360-degree VR and AR streaming services for mobile devices, and QoS (Quality of Service) network technologies and algorithms to prioritize data flows and guarantee data transmission performance in so doing.
As COVID-19 has increased the importance of contactless interaction, the Lab is looking for ways to combine blockchain technology with the metaverse that is garnering much attention for its potential in such an application. “In the realm of a blockchain-enabled metaverse, reliable information can be exchanged between virtual reality and the real world”, Professor Song explained, adding “Such an innovation will surely do wonders in improving our ease in enjoying healthier, more productive daily lives”.
In the course of researching the integration of blockchain with 5G mobile communications, the Lab has established its own communications service within the lab environment. Leveraging the actual frequencies used by telecom companies, researchers at the Lab have created a system where they can insert a SIM card into a smartphone for users to access Lab-provided data. An installed shielding antenna tent prevents frequencies from leaving the Lab facility, transforming the Lab into a small, yet well-functioning, telecom service provider able to operate completely independent from the outside world.
This experiment has been conducted in alignment with the Lab’s own unique motto that echoes the musings of the famous German philosopher, Immanuel Kant: ‘Theory without experimentation is blind, but experimentation without theory is mere intellectual play’. To produce concrete and viable outcomes, the Lab follows a logical sequence for action: an experiment is proposed, a theory is established and a pilot product is created. Researchers have created AR and VR videos of the theories and/or algorithms developed at the Lab, and made them all publicly available on Youtube. Professor Song asserted, “To create anything new, one must allocate much time and rigorous study. In the end, these are the very traits instrumental to the success of any great engineer”.
Head of Lab
Science Building Ⅳ 106