Project Starline uses 3D projection technologies to make you feel like you are actually in the room with another person
With limited travel and major quarantine rules for the past year due to the pandemic, separation anxiety is a real problem. There are many people who have not been able to interact with loved ones face to face and their prolonged absence from our lives have managed to take a mental toll.
Video chats help solve this problem somewhat by letting you at least see how others are doing but they still don't solve the problem of actually communicating with another person as if they were present right in front of you. This is where Google's Project Starline hopes to change things.
What is Project Starline?
Project Starline is a prototype video booth that uses advanced 3D mapping and projection to make it feel like you are actually sitting in the room with another person. Google calls it, 'Hyper-telepresence'.
Think of it as a really advanced video chat platform that uses a large booth with a two-way mirror and a setup that utilises cameras, lights and an array of sensors.
Google says that it is applying advancements in the fields of computer vision, machine learning, spatial audio and real-time compression to map a living person in 3D and project them on to a 65-inch "light-field display" that gives them the illusion of actually sitting across the room from one another.
This can be experienced without the need for any additional 3D headsets or glasses and neatly blurs the line between VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality).
Will Project Starline be available en masse?
As per Google's blog, "Project Starline is currently available in just a few of our offices and it relies on custom-built hardware and highly specialized equipment."
Google has stated that it is looking to make this technology more accessible and affordable but that is likely still ways off into the future. Currently, the company is testing the technology within its offices in the Bay Area, New York and Seattle. They have also been, "conducting demos with select enterprise partners in areas like healthcare and media to get early feedback on the technology and its applications."
The company also says that it is, "planning trial deployments with enterprise partners later this year."