Skype confirms it is looking into 3-D calling…

Remember in Star Wars where they would have council meetings and some of the people in the meeting were just blue holograms? Well the reality of this is not that far in the future.

The Microsoft owned video calling software Skype has announced that it is researching the use of 3-D video calling. They say they are several years away from it becoming a launched product as it is a very precise configuration process. For those of you who don’t know, here’s how 3-D filming works:

The film is recorded using two camera lenses sat side by side. But in the cinema, the two reels of film are projected through different polarised filters. So images destined for viewers’ left eyes are polarised on a horizontal plane, whereas images destined for their right eyes are polarised on a vertical plane.

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Skype’s main task is making the set up of these two lenses at home a simple task; as with filming, the positioning of the camera’s is a very precise calculation.

Mark Gillet, the Vice President for Skype, says,

“The capture devices are not yet there. As we work with that kind of technology you have to add multiple cameras to your computer, precisely calibrate them and point them at the right angle.

“We have it in the lab, we know how to make it work and we’re looking at the ecosystem of devices and their capability to support it in order to make a decision when we might think about bringing something like that to market.”.

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A project to create a “body double” for people who are unable to travel to meetings is one that seems futile and objectively pointless. I mean, why would you want to be able to see a 3-D person in the room? They are still limited to the exact same abilities that a normal 2-D call would be.We’ve all been to the movies, watched a film in 3-D and been disappointed by how dark the screen is. It just feels like you’re gaining this extra dimension at the expense of visual quality.

I have to admit, from a technological point of view, this is great and will be really cool to see in commercial use; but my actual opinion is that it’s a waste of research time and money.

3-D still has a lot of improvement needed and although I think we will be using it a lot more in the future, ultimately I think developing systems that utilize’s software that feels incomplete, is a task that will prove to be fruitless.

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