Canadian researchers test 3D videoconferencing system

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Canadian researchers at Queen's University have developed a life-sized 3D videoconferencing apparatus that creates a holographic image of a person that can be used in videoconferencing.

The researchers at the Human Media Lab, based in Kingston, Ontario, used a translucent cylinder with six Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Kinect sensors for their tests, and streamed the image to another cylinder with a 3D projector inside the base, creating the illusion that the participant is standing inside the cylinder.

Users can walk around the cylinder as they talk, as long as they're within eight feel of the device. The "TeleHuman" device erases background imagery and shows only the individual taking part in the conference. The scientists said they managed to maintain "gaze and eye contact" between participants to maximize natural interaction.

But TeleHuman isn't yet ready for prime time, said lab director Roel Vertegaal. It's still a little clunky.

Vertegaal said that the technology being used in the design leaves a little to be desired in terms of brightness and clarity, as well, but he said he believes it could be ready in five years or less.

It is likely to cost about $5,000 per unit, a price that might be off-putting until the technology improves.

For more:
- watch the video
- see this Sydney Morning Herald article

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