When Google unveiled their Starline project in 2021, which allowed people to videoconference in seeming 3D, we wrote that it resembled a prison visitation experience. The technology required a bulky booth to support all of the gear, providing a literal barrier to both the experience and to the system's eventual uptake.
Now Google's engineers have streamlined the design, using an AI technology (of course) that allows them to get away with fewer cameras. Thus the entire rig is now just a flatscreen with two ears and a cap (to hold the cameras).
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I know the experience doesn't look very impressive in a YouTube video, but I'd bet this seems completely mind-blowing in person. The question is, will all of this tech really make videoconferencing seem more personable? Will seeing someone in 3D, but still through a screen, really make them seem more human? And will companies or people be willing to pony up for the cost of the technology?
I suppose it will boil down to cost. I'm guessing this is the kind of thing where you won't want to go back to the old way once you've tried it.
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