With high-resolution cameras, 3D models and a new display, Google wants to make video telephony as realistic as possible.
At its in-house exhibition, Google I / O, the internet company presented the so-called Project Starline, an experimental technology that is supposed to enable a completely new 3D experience when making video calls. In the best-case scenario, the participants in the conversation feel as though they are in the same room and sitting across from each other, although this is obviously not the case.
In the short presentation video, the participants in the conversation each sit in a room at a table on which a new type of display is installed so that they can see the other person. In the display, which is based on light field technology, a kind of 3D hologram is shown, which at least in Google’s imagination looks quite realistic.
According to Google, the participants in the video call are recorded with several high-resolution cameras from different angles. In addition, there are sensors built by Google for depth detection. The recordings from the cameras are combined with the sensor data and converted into a 3D model. In order to finally be able to transmit this data in real time, Google has also created a completely new compression algorithm, according to its own information, in order to compress the data hundreds of times and to be able to send it over the existing Internet infrastructure.
Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai describes the development stage of the technology as “early” and this is only “available in some offices”. Nevertheless, the system is described as realistic, perceives movements and enables eye contact during a conversation. According to Pichai, Starline is “as close as possible to the experience of sitting across from someone”. It is not yet possible to foresee when the technology will be ready for use on a large scale.