In the wake of lockdowns and the Covid-19 pandemic, teleworking and video conferencing have been widely democratized, with the Zoom app becoming the most downloaded app of 2020, for example.
These changes in working methods inspired the ambitious Starline project, which represented Google’s idea for the future of video conferencing, a faint vision accessible only to a small group of Googlers. It is characterized by video call booths, where Internet users chat with holographic and more realistic versions, friends, colleagues or relatives from a station equipped with high-resolution cameras and depth sensors.
Video conferencing has significant advantages that explain its frequent use. The interlocutors are displayed on a large screen, giving their appearance an authentic look and ensuring better communication. The practice is based on a telepresence system that combines computer vision, spatial audio, artificial intelligence and data abstraction. Factors that create a more advanced report of Virtual Proximity to Compensate Geographical Distance.
The American company marks its platform for 2022, in the context of the proliferation of daily practices, representing an enormous change that will bring many innovations.
The details surrounding this new technology are many and interesting. The interlocutors see themselves in a 2m by 2m cabin, including 14 cameras and 16 infrared sensors, to capture images in real-time and create a photorealistic 3D avatar of the interlocutor. Audio, on the other hand, includes four microphones that pick up sound, while speech comes from the avatar’s mouth with two speakers delivering it spatially with dynamic beamforming.
Google employees were invited to test the Starline project and feedback shared by Google was positive. As Scott Morey, head of technology and innovation at WeWork:
“The proliferation of hybrid work models is creating new opportunities to fundamentally rethink the way we collaborate in the workplace. The Starline project is at the forefront of this transformation, delivering an incredible user experience that bridges the gap between our physical and virtual worlds,” he says.
However, while Google hopes to make the technology accessible to the general public soon, no information about its commercialization has been released yet.