If you thought teleportation was the stuff of science fiction alone, then think again. A team of researchers at the Human Media Lab of Queen's University have proved it to be a very real possibility in the near future.
Under the able guidance of Professor Roel Vertegaal, the team has built a unique human sized 3D videoconferencing pod which allows people located across continents and countries to view and chat with each other with ease, and in the comfort of their own home.
Put simply, it is a bit like doing Skype with a person, but without pixelated images, voice distortion or those annoying sudden connection breaks. What this new ‘telepod’ promises is the added advantage of seeing the person, or his holographic image or projection in 3D style, to the extent that one can actually view this seamlessly projected 360 degree image from all sides easily, and can even walk around it without breaking eye contact.
The telepod is itself a simple 1.8 meter translucent cylinder made of acrylic and works as a display system. Some of its other components include a 3D projector, a convex mirror and ten Microsoft Kinect sensors, four of which are to be placed in the room with the telepod, so as to enable one to see the back of the projection.
Aptly called ‘telehuman’, this technology works with two people, however far apart in terms of distance, standing in front of their respective life sized telepods and conversing. Cameras in their respective pods then capture these images and track the 3D content created, converting them into life-like 360 degree images, transmitting them to each other’s pods. This in turn makes one feel like being in the actual presence of the person.
And should you want to see this technological marvel actually at work, you don’t have to wait too long. Come May 5, the research team at Human Media Lab plans to unveil this telepod at the CHI2012 Annual International Conference on Human and Computer Interaction in Austin, Texas. So, be there!