Google Demonstrates Its Holographic 3D Telepresence Platform

The previous few years have only demonstrated how important face-to-face engagement can be, whether in person or via a virtual platform. Google Demonstrates Its Holographic 3D Telepresence Platform

There’s no doubting that the latter is more awkward, and gazing at a tiny rectangle for an extended period of time becomes unsettling. But what if you could virtually sit across from a friend or family member without having to travel seas or time zones? That is the concept underlying Google’s Project Starline, a holographic, three-dimensional «telepresence» platform that virtually places loved ones in front of you.

Project Starline operates by scanning around one cubic meter of area in where you (and the person you’re calling) sit using more than a dozen cameras and sensors. As Google continually records your image, it compresses the data in real time so that it can be transmitted over a standard network.

When the data arrives at its destination, Google puts your picture on a glass panel, producing a holographic appearance that makes you appear to be there in person. Google’s «breakthrough light field display technology» gives a realistic feeling of volume and depth, while spatial audio lets your voice fill the room.

Google Demonstrates Its Holographic 3D Telepresence Platform

Google initially revealed Project Starline during its Google I/O developer conference keynote last year. It is now testing the technology in a couple of its corporate locations. Scott Stein, a CNET journalist, was allowed to try Project Starline for himself. Stein said in his evaluation of the trial that the life-size, real-time video chat was strange at first (since it’s unlike anything most of us have ever encountered), but that it gradually became second nature. «It seemed like we were talking at a coffee shop table,» he writes.

This feeling of realism tends to have beneficial effects on how individuals communicate. Google has apparently discovered that using Project Starline instead of a regular video conference increases users’ concentration, memory recall, and overall sensation of presence. People exhibit up to 40% more nonverbal actions such as nodding, brow movement, and hand gestures, as well as paying more attention to their discussion partner and remembering the topic better after the fact.

Of course, the technology isn’t flawless. Because the tops of people’s heads aren’t always shown correctly, they might appear jagged or fuzzy, and the overall display quality isn’t as clear as some people want. It also goes without saying that, because to the heavy setup, this isn’t something the typical person will be able to utilize every day: Users must presently enter a booth that has both a dining area and a glass exhibit surrounded by Project Starline’s numerous sensors. Nonetheless, Project Starline is excellent for a platform that simulates the in-person experience without the need of heavy headgear.

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