Queens researchers unveil true holographic videoconferencing system
Queen’s University researchers have perfected a system that enables two people, in different locations, to appear life-sized and in 3D. The holographic videoconferencing system, dubbed TeleHuman 2, allows people to meet virtually, as if they were in the same room.
“Face-to-face interaction transfers an immense amount of non-verbal information,” says Roel Vertegaal, Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at the Queen’s University School of Computing. “This information is lost in online tools. Users miss the proxemics, gestures, facial expressions and eye contact that bring nuance, emotional connotation and ultimately empathy to a conversation. TeleHuman 2 injects these missing elements into long-distance conversations with a realism that cannot be achieved with a Skype or Facetime video chat.”
Dr. Vertegaal explains that what the majority of people think are holograms are actually 2D video projected on a flat piece of glass. Instead, Dr. Vertegaal’s team has been able to project humans and objects as light fields.
To accomplish this, the TeleHuman 2 captures live, 3D images – one for every degree angle of the ‘sender’ – using an array of depth cameras. That data is then “teleported” to a retro-reflective, human-size cylindrical pod. A ring of intelligent projectors mounted above and around the pod project the 3D data. The result is a display that makes it look as if the sender is in the pod and can be viewed from all sides simultaneously by multiple users.
TeleHuman 2 is the next-gen version of Dr. Vertegaal’s technology, debuted 2012, which only allowed a single viewer to see the 3D projection correctly using 3D glasses. Now, multiple participants are able to see their holographic colleague in full 3D, without glasses.