Project Starline is an experimental video communication method currently in development by Google that allows the user to see a 3D model of the person they are communicating with. Google announced the product at its 2021 I/O developer conference, saying that it will allow users to "talk naturally, gesture and make eye contact" by utilizing machine learning, spatial audio, computer vision and real-time compression to create the 3D effect without the user wearing typical virtual reality goggles. The goal is to make the user feel as if they are in the same room with the other user.
Project Starline had been in development for more than five years prior to the official announcement on May 18, 2021. The technology is currently only available in a small number of Google's offices, but the company plans to begin collaborating with certain partners in the next year, particularly partners in the healthcare and media industries.
The current implementation of Project Starline is a booth that the user sits in, facing a 65 in (170 cm) "light field display," surrounded by depth sensors, cameras, and lights. Light field technology is a photography technique that captures the direction of light as well as its intensity and color to enable more effective 3D imaging. The user can then view another user on the display in 3D and vice versa. Google says it plans to "make this technology more affordable and accessible."
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