The last few years’ rapid developments in video and display technology together with the decreasing cost of high bandwidth communication links is improving the opportunities to realize very high quality videoconferencing systems that give the users the impression of being physically present at the same location. Sometimes the term “Telepresence” is used to denote high quality videoconferencing installations, where great care is also taken with respect to the physical environment of the installation, e.g. screens, furniture, lighting, etc. Several videoconferencing system vendors today can provide videoconferencing using high definition (HD) video technology, which together with large size displays can give a very high quality videoconferencing experience. However, today’s videoconferencing or Telepresence systems are often lacking in many respects and do not give the users a particularly strong feeling of being physically present at the same place. One major shortcoming is that traditional videoconferencing systems present the user with a flat image of the other participants on a screen, while in real life, our stereoscopic human vision system gives us a three-dimensional view of the persons we are interacting with. Another common problem is difficulties providing eye contact between the users since the cameras are most often placed above the screens.
In the HD3D project, a high quality telepresence systems is developed based on high definition stereoscopic videoconferencing with support for eye contact and a number of additional features taking the concept of telepresence to a new level.
In addition to the high definition video, the HD3D system improves the state of the art in telepresence through incorporation of the following features:
- autostereoscopic video, providing true depth perception without eyewear,
- spatialized multichannel audio, giving directional audio cues,
- eye-contact, for improved interpersonal communication,
- true size of participants using stereoscopic displays (42 inch or larger) in portrait orientation,
- consistent context, through shared backdrops using chroma keying or similar technologies,
- measurement methods, quality requirements and set-up guidelines.
The HD3D project delivers a telepresence system based on novel software components and off-the-shelf hardware components. The system is able to realize stereoscopic videoconferencing with a level of realism that makes it a serious alternative to face-to-face meetings. This is not only be beneficial for business use, but also for a number of new applications in e-health and education.
The HD3D project is funded by Alkit Communications and VINNOVA in the Forska & Väx programme.
For more information contact Alkit Communications.