"Why Skype when you can talk to a life-size 3D holographic image of another person?" says professor Roel Vertegaal, director of the Human Media Lab.
Credit: Queen's University
Since the 3D video image is visible 360 degrees around the Pod, the person can walk around it to see the other person’s side or back.
While the technology may seem like it comes from a galaxy far, far away, it's not as complicated as most would think. Dr. Vertegaal and his team used mostly existing hardware – including a 3D projector, a 1.8 metre-tall translucent acrylic cylinder and a convex mirror.
The researchers used the same Pod to create another application called BodiPod, which presents an interactive 3D anatomy model of the human body. The model can be explored 360 degrees around the model through gestures and speech interactions. When people approach the Pod, they can wave in thin air to peel off layers of tissue. In X-ray mode, as users get closer to the Pod they can see deeper into the anatomy, revealing the model’s muscles, organs and bone structure. Voice commands such as "show brain" or "show heart" will automatically zoom into a 3D model of a brain or heart.
Dr. Vertegaal will unveil TeleHuman and BodiPod at CHI 2012, the premier international conference on human-computer interaction, in Austin, Texas May 5-10.