Microsoft Improved Video Calls by Projecting People Into the Room

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Microsoft’s research unit is working on an innovative way to improve Room2Room video calls. Room2Room is a life-size telepresence system that leverages projected augmented reality to enable co-present interaction between two participants.

Augmented reality is created by using Kinect cameras and RoomAlive projectors. A 3D image of a person can be placed onto a certain furniture items, such as a chair or a sofa. According to the researchers, each person can then see a 3D image of the other from the correct perspective and different angles.

The idea of a “life-presence” of another person was tested by having seven pairs of volunteers to build three-dimensional shapes with blocks. While one person sat in front of a table in one room with the actual blocks, the partner sat in another, giving instructions. According to the results, it took less time to solve a task using Room2Room than Skype. The best results were shown by those who interacted face-to-face. 
Room2Room Technology isn’t yet ready for mainstream use because it requires bulky hardware and doesn’t yet produce high-resolution projections.

January 2015 Microsoft announced its smart glasses Hololens. The device is made as a portable computer with ability to generate 3G objects. Hololens glasses will cost $3,000 for the initial "Developer Edition". It’ll be launched in the beginning of 2016.

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