Sitting in a lab in the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany is a virtual reality system that has the potential to redefine long-distance communication. Using 3D glasses and a Microsoft Kinect, a specialized system grants up to six people the ability to be transported into 3D virtual recreations of distant locations in real time. Sensors grafted to the glasses follow each individual’s movement, location, and can even detect highly intricate movements like a tilt of the head.
New Scientist reports, “By combining the two systems, two remote groups of people can talk, gesture, even reach out to each other inside this environment.” What is especially unique about this scenario, is that each VR participant is beamed into a location with the ability to have their own unique 3D view. Instead of a 3D movie, where each person in an audience sees what is pictured on the screen from the same angle, this new system factors in each individual’s position relative to the display.
The Weimar team’s is using this technology to make long-distance communication more immersive and entertaining, but also in conjunction with an archaeology project in Europe. Who knew that Kinect had so many applications? It’ll be interesting to see how the Xbox One’s Kinect 2 will be utilized in this regard as well.