George Siemens laments how video conferencing doesn’t provide you with all the visual cues you would like:
“It’s tough presenting to a conference when you, as the presenter, lack visual cues. Sure, you can see the people seated around tables, you can see the layout of the room, but if it’s a larger group, you miss the important communication signals of eye contact, raised eyebrows…or people falling asleep. Video conferencing with smaller groups does allow for transition of greater detail (a smile, confused look), but it doesn’t allow for eye contact. Contact is with the camera. Tracking eye movement is important for feeling connected with others.”
George points to this video about ‘HeadSPIN: A One-to-Many 3D Video Teleconferencing System’. According to the blurb, “This installation presents a 3D teleconferencing system that enables true eye contact between a three-dimensionally transmitted subject and multiple participants in an audience. The system is able to reproduce the effects of gaze, attention, and eye contact not available in traditional teleconferencing systems.”
This week’s Economist also picked up on the potential for applying new 3D imaging technologies to video conferencing. In 3D – It’s nearly there, the Economist reports how Accenture “has equipped two non-adjacent rooms at its research centre in Sophia Antipolis, France, with cameras so that a wall-mounted screen in each one serves as a window into the other. It is now using 3-D displays to allow people to ‘share’ objects and data between the two rooms.”
The article also describes the Eyeliner projection system devised by Musion, a company based in London. The system “projects high-definition video onto nearly transparent screens made of very thin foil, in a modern updating of the old ‘Pepper’s ghost’ stage illusion. The effect, for viewers a few metres away, is a lifelike, full-sized 3-D moving image of a person that appears to float in space, without any visible screen.” Apparently. the technology has been used by Al Gore, Bill Gates, Prince Charles and other celebrities to appear on stage at conferences without being physically present. See the video.
Sell those BA shares while you can.