May 19, 2021
Project Starline: Google's video chat makes it look like users are physically in the same room
Picture using video chat like Zoom, except instead of seeing the person you call on a screen, it feels as if they are physically sitting across from you.
On Tuesday, Google unveiled Project Starline, an ambitious video chat tool using 3D imaging to make it look like participants are together in the same room.
The technology combines research in machine learning, spatial audio, computer vision and real-time compression to create the effect. It also uses a light field display system to create volume and depth without requiring the users wear special headsets or glasses.
"Imagine looking through a sort of magic window, and through that window, you see another person, life-size and in three dimensions," writes Google Vice President Clay Bavor in a blog post. "You can talk naturally, gesture and make eye contact."
For now, Project Starline is only available in a handful of Google offices and requires special equipment. But Bavor says it's Google's goal to "make this technology more affordable and accessible."
The tech is being tested among Google employees and demonstrated to enterprise partners in healthcare and media. Google plans to deploy Project Starline on a trial basis to additional partners later this year, said Bavor.
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