During the launch of Google I / O on Tuesday, the company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, put down a Steve Jobsian “one more thing” move at the end of his keynote speech that was simply stunning.
It’s called Project Starline and it’s (for now) an internal project to make remote video conferencing a lot more immersive.
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The system uses high-resolution cameras, custom depth sensors and what Google describes as a “breakthrough light-field display” to deliver 3D images of the person on the other end of the video conference.
So far, the system has been tested on Google employees in the company̵
It’s unclear what technical hurdles Google has been able to overcome with this prototype product, but the first demonstration videos are promising. While it is nearly impossible to judge the full 3D effect by watching a 2D video demo, the volume of the remote callers seemed quite realistic and free of visual artifacts.
This demo, of course, is that Google is showing the best version of what Project Starline could be, but if it’s anything close to what we saw today then it could revolutionize video conferencing as we know it by effectively give you holographic images of the people you meet.
Pichai did not provide details on when this will be turned into a mainstream-ready product, but at first glance it immediately looks like the work the Looking Glass team is doing looks even more important beyond the realm of static displays. See 3D art, videos and photos.
And, unlike some of Google’s other “moonshot” projects, it looks like this will actually reach the public in the near future.
“Our goal is to make this technology more affordable and accessible, including some of these technical enhancements to our range of communications products,” reads the statement on the Google website. According to Pichai, Google will reveal more about Project Starline later this year.