Queens researchers unveil true holographic videoconferencing system
TeleHuman 2 enables two people in different locations to appear in life-size 3D before one another.
Queen’s University researchers have been working towards building a system than enables two people in different locations to appear life-sized, and in 3D before one another. The holographic videoconferencing system, dubbed TeleHuman 2 enables 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,” he adds. “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. Vertagaal explains that with TeleHuman 2, the team is bringing actual holograms to life. Majority of what people think are holograms are actually a 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.
The team designed a retro-reflective, human-size cylindrical pod with a ring of intelligent projectors mounted above and around it to project a 3D object as if it were in the pod. The object can be walked around and viewed from all sides simultaneously by multiple users.
TeleHuman 2 “teleports” live, 3D images of a human from one place to another by capturing the remote 3D image with an array of depth cameras. The display is able to project a light field that uses one image for every degree angle, removing the need for users to wear 3D glasses.
This is the next-gen version of Dr. Vertegaal’s TeleHuman technology, which he debuted 2012. However, the TeleHuman 2 offers a significant advantage to its predecessor, which only allowed for a single viewer to see the 3D projection correctly using 3D glasses. Now, multiple participants are able to see their holographic friend or colleague in full 3D, each from their individual perspective, without glasses.