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World’s first truly holographic telepresence system unveiled.

Current commercial video conferencing systems, such as Skype, are still mostly limited to small displays with only a small amount of systems supporting life-sized images.  However, most conferencing or telehealth solutions do not convey images of remote interlocutors at sizes consistent with perceived social distance for natural discourse.  Now, a study from researchers at Queen’s University develops TeleHuman 2, the world’s first truly holographic video-conferencing system. The team states TeleHuman2 allows people in different locations to appear before one another in life-size 3D as if they were in the same room.  The study was presented at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

Previous studies have shown both continuous motion parallax, where the image speed for near objects across a frame appears more rapid than for far objects, and stereoscopy, used to enhance the depth of an image, can be easily supported in immersive systems.  However, this comes at a cost of using head-worn apparatus obscuring facial expressions and eye contact.  The current study develops TeleHuman2, a life-sized holographic telepresence system capable of conveying stereoscopy and continuous motion parallax around a cylindrical light field display without the need for glasses or head tracking.

The current study uses a ring of intelligent projectors mounted above and around a retro-reflective, human-sized cylindrical pod, to project objects as light fields capable of being walked around and viewed from all sides simultaneously by multiple users. Results show capturing the remote 3D image with an array of depth cameras enables the live 3D images of a human to be teleported from one room to another.  Data findings show because the display projects a light field with many images, one for every degree of angle, users need not wear headgear or 3D glasses to experience each other in augmented reality.

The lab states with TeleHuman 2, multiple participants are able to see their holographic friend or colleague, each from their individual perspective. They go on to add TeleHuman technology could be used to mitigate the environmental impacts of business travel, enabling organizations to conduct more engaging and effective meetings from a distance, rather than having to appear in person.

The team surmises they have developed a true holographic telepresence system with the ability to convey a full-sized 3D video of remote participants in real-time without the use of head-gear.  For the future, the researchers state their system has potential beyond professional situations such as large music festivals, with performers appearing as 3D hologram throughout the venue.

Source:  Queen’s Human Media Lab

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