The effect is as if users are sitting on top of each other and see the smallest details, according to the company.
Google demonstrated the concept at the I/O 2021 conference. Project Starline is a technology project that combines the company’s hardware and software developments to provide the interlocutors with a so-called “presence effect”, in which they do not just see each other on the screen (as in the case of Zoom or FaceTime), but can interact in real time.
The technology is not yet ready for mass use, but Google claims that it has already achieved the effect that users sit on top of each other and see the smallest details.
At the moment, the platform is a large cabin with dozens of cameras and sensors to capture the appearance of a person from different angles. Images, videos, and a depth map are sent to a special server, where they are combined into a 3D model, which is already broadcast to the interlocutor.
Google says the project was made possible by research in computer vision, machine learning, spatial sound, and real-time decoding.
Project Starline also uses a special light field display system, which creates a sense of volume without glasses or a headset. The 65-inch display is capable of displaying visual information depending on the observer’s viewing angle. This means that the other person on the screen gains depth, and their movements demonstrate an effect known as parallax.
This way, even if you lean from side to side during a conversation, the image will “adjust” to your view. This technology has already been used in the Lytro camera and Avegant headset, but has not yet been widely used as such visualization.
Currently, Project Starline is only available in Google offices and relies on highly specialized, custom-made hardware. Nevertheless, the company believes that this is how communication technologies should develop between people, and over time they will inevitably become more accessible.
Google has already conducted a number of demonstrations to corporate partners, including in the areas of healthcare and the media, to get feedback and improve the development in the future.
At the conference, Google also unveiled Android 12 with the” biggest redesign ” of the OS. All announcements from the event are in the material.