The technology behind 3D has seen its share of fits and starts. 3DTV is struggling with low sales and some high profile 3D networks like ESPN 3D shutting down. But 3D printing seems to be building significant momentum. The latest 3D effort is in communications and Skype is taking a hard look at it.
According to a BBC News report by Leo Kelion, Skype is actively investigating 3D calling technology. With 3D calling, a person would be able to project a 3D image of themselves to a called party – think of it as a full scale hologram. Conceivably, the 3D caller could interact with the called party, almost as if they were physically present carrying on a conversation. The application, should it ever become reality, is probably more apropos for business settings, perhaps as the next iteration of today’s telepresence videoconferencing solutions. Although, there is work being done on 3D for smartphones, which won’t require the wearing of glasses.
The technology is several years away, if it ever makes it to market. It involves using multiple cameras to capture the 3D image, making it sound like an expensive proposition, not to mention the unknown bandwidth throughput required to transmit such an image.
“But 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,” Microsoft’s corporate vice-president for Skype, Mark Gillett tells Kelion.”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.”
In many ways, Skype pioneered video chat as an acceptable means of communication. Will they do the same for 3D calling?