UCSD professor wins grant to improve video quality for wireless devices
San Diego, February 13, 2002 -- A researcher at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Jacobs School of Engineering will receive more than $200,000 over three years from Skyworks Solutions, Inc., and the University of California's Industry-University Cooperative Research Program (IUCRP). The grant will fund research that could lead to smoother video streaming on wireless handheld devices such as mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs).
Truong Nguyen, a professor in the Jacobs School's Electrical and Computer Engineering department, will carry out the research under the auspices of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology [Cal-(IT)2]. "The advent of the wireless Web makes it possible to stream video, but at current data rates, the quality of video is not sufficient to promote widespread adoption," said Nguyen, an expert on video processing and compression. "This funding will allow us to expand on our early success in changing the way video streams are decoded at the mobile device -- an improvement that could speed acceptance of video delivery in commercial 2.5G mobile applications."
So-called because they are somewhere between second- and third-generation wireless standards, 2.5G networks are now being deployed and typically stream data at 65,000 bits per second (65K). In early experiments, Nguyen has optimized the video decoder to generate additional frames to produce a smoother video sequence. At a 65K bit rate, an early prototype achieved 20 frames per second -- roughly double the number of frames streamed on the same device without Nguyen's modifications. The technology will be developed for live video applications such as videoconferencing and surveillance, but the process would also permit smoother streaming of movie or other clips over a wireless connection to a handheld. Target devices include mobile phones with screens, PDAs, and Web pads (tablets).
Skyworks Solutions (www.skyworksinc.com) will fund the research project with $120,000 over three years. Skyworks is the industry's leading wireless semiconductor company focused on RF and complete cellular system solutions for mobile communications applications. It began operations in June 2002, following the completion of the merger between Alpha Industries, Inc. and Conexant Systems, Inc.'s wireless communications business. The research funding stems from Conexant's original commitment as a founding industry sponsor of Cal-(IT)2, and Skyworks pledged to fulfill its share of the commitment when it also became a Cal-(IT)2 partner. Skyworks is focused on providing front-end modules, RF subsystems and cellular systems to wireless handset and infrastructure customers worldwide. Headquartered in Woburn, MA, with executive offices in Irvine, CA, the company has design, engineering, manufacturing, marketing, sales and service facilities throughout North America, Europe, Japan and Asia Pacific.
Matching state funds of just over $86,000 will come in the form of a UC Discovery Grant (http://uc-industry.berkeley.edu/) from the IUCRP's Digital Media Innovation (DiMI) program. The IUCRP was launched by the State of California in 1996 and invests $20 million a year in UC Discovery Grants to encourage research at UC campuses in collaboration with California companies in telecommunications and four other fields.