A Telepresence System That’s Starting To Feel Like A Holodeck

[Dr. Roel Vertegaal] has led a team of collaborators from [Queen’s University] to build TeleHuman 2 — a telepresence setup that aims to project your actual-size likeness in 3D.

Developed primarily for business videoconferencing, the setup requires a bit of space on both ends of the call. A ring of stereoscopic z-cameras capture the subject from all angles which the corresponding projector on the other end displays. Those projectors are arranged in similar halo above a human-sized, retro-reflective cylindrical screen which can be walked around — viewing the image from any angle without a VR headset or glasses — in real-time!

One of the greatest advantages of this method is that ring of projectors makes your likeness viewable to a group since the image isn’t locked to the perspective of one individual. Conceivably, this also allows for one person to be in many places at once — so to speak. The team argues that as body language is an integral part of communication, this telepresence method will ultimately bring long-distance interactions closer the feeling of being a face-to face.

It would be awesome to see this technology develop further, where the cameras and projectors could allow the user an area of free movement — for, say, more sweeping gestures or pacing about — on both ends of the call to really sell the illusion of the person being in the same physical space.

Ok that might be a little far-fetched for now. We haven’t advanced to holodeck tech quite yet, but we’re getting there.

[Thanks for the tip, Qes!]

30 thoughts on “A Telepresence System That’s Starting To Feel Like A Holodeck

    1. Yea, profesional media producers often have vastly superior equipment and services at their disposal than many of their consumers. Often they forget to accomodate the low end users because THEY don’t have a problem. Periodic “adjustments” are required for even the best of them. Hey James, I think a 4.5M gif is a bit big, by an order of magnitude as far as I’m concerned. It might be time for that periodic adjustment we all need to go through. :-)

      OK, enough of my complaining. Telepresence is way underrated. I’m not sure about the wicked bandwidth that would be needed for this implementation but the concept of is worth looking into. Telepresence is extremely green technology if you are into that kind of thing. Who needs all the horribly expensive long distance travel industry if we could just meet this way. No diseases to spread. No long waits or having to deal with the TSA. And orders of magnitude less energy used. It should be a no-brainer decision to expand its use.

      1. i have to agree with Clara, this is about efficiency ! Using RLE for what is essentially video anno 2018 is just silly. I feel like it’s just a hype/trendy thing to still use GIF.

      2. I can get more done in five mins physically being in the office with the remote team than I can over 5 hours of VC.
        I know from my peers that most feel the same way.
        It’s not and never will be a replacement for face to face collaboration.

        We deal with issues like the TSA by hosting meetings in more friendly countries.

        1. “I can get more done in five mins physically being in the office with the remote team than I can over 5 hours of VC.”
          Yes, Telepresence is useless to pickpockets!
          B^)

      3. “if we could just meet this way”
        you should think better to the meaning of “meet”.
        this tecnology allows you to see, ear and talk, not to “meet”.
        i meet someone when i can interact with him by person.
        this tecnology is no more than “telepresence”.
        as say, if i cannot kick your ass, i cannot say i meet you.

        1. Interesting thought process. If that is your measure of having met someone, I bet there are tons of people you have talked face to face with you will never “meet”. Dumbest thing I have ever heard.

    2. My new policy (starting now) is if the article has a animation, I’m not reading it. If the bloated eye candy fails to get clicks, maybe they will stop using them.

    3. I’m mostly surprised about the fuzzy even constantly repeating image on top of the article while there is no need for it as there is a perfectly good video a few lines beneath it.
      I will like to add that watching this gif image for too longmight even cause in this case it might even cause dizziness.

      Regarding the project the concept is nice and (while this version is very hard to look at) is very promising of what is possible today and will be in the future.

    1. Is that where the protagonist comes home to relax view a few people on his full sized ‘facebook’ screen and a series of hot women show up along with a hot man? He clicks through that one quickly. They needed to know Mark Zuckerburg!

      1. No, that scene is early in the movie…
        The end of the movie is where the mainframe crashes because Logan told it he was back from “outside” and survived.
        And then every body is forced to leave the underground city and they meet the Peter Ustinov character.

  1. “Because the display projects a light field with many images, one for every degree of angle,”…

    360 pico projectors and associated (what look like) BananaPis?

    Not sure how many cameras, looks to be fewer though.

    x 2 for both ends of the setup…

    Crikey. That’s a hell of a price tag.

    It will have to replace an insane amount of business class travel to get a ROI on a reasonable time frame…

    1. 1 “Zed” camera every 20 degrees is shown in the PDF. So, that’s 13 of those @ 450 USD…

      PDF also states it’s on projector set ever 1.3 Deg, so 275 of those…, a quick google puts average price around $450 each, $123,750(!).

      So, not much change out of $130K for *one* site, without mechanics, and the retro-reflector display.

      I am less than surprised by the fact they only deployed a half ring due to budget constraints ;)

  2. No thanks!

    This eliminates the primary benefit of working remotely… not having to wear office clothes!
    It requires standing up..
    …and doing so standing straight and still in a narrow area for the duration of the meeting.

    And all that just to get more body language? I would rather just practice speaking clearly, considering my words carefully and with purpose convey all the meaning that I wish to get across verbally.

    Also.. that ‘I wish..’ part. That’s important too. My body languages is as likely to convey the things that I would prefer to keep to myself as it is the things I want someone to know. Do I need to use this thing, standing straight and still all through a long meeting AND work on my poker face too!

  3. For this to be feasible the person being projected would also need to have a view of the space around them, so there needs to be an inverse version of what they have done built into it.

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