A group of Microsoft researchers are exploring ways to project a life-size projection of a person that appears to be sitting across from you in an actual chair. This project is called Room2Room and it is the extension of the old Microsoft Research augmented-reality project called RoomAlive. Similar to RoomAlive, Room2Room uses Kinect depth cameras and digital projectors to capture the image of a person in 3-D in one room and project a life-sized version of that person in real time onto a piece of furniture in another room. It is like someone sitting in front of you digitally. Researchers found that people using this kind of communication were able to collaborate better than a typical Skype video call.
Don’t expect this technology coming to your home anytime soon. The depth-sensing and projection hardware are bulky and it can be a pain to set up. Also, it doesn’t project very high-resolution images. But researchers believe there is room for improvement in terms of resolution. Tobias Höllerer, a professor at the University of California said the following,
“If you think about it, it took like 50, 60 years to get from the first demos of video telephony to where we are with Skype and everything else,” he says. “These are the beginnings of more immersive conferencing.”