At Google I/O yesterday, many announcements for innovative ways to use artificial intelligence and new products took over the spotlight. But the company's Project Starline, a videoconferencing system that makes the person in your virtual meetings seem like they're right in front of you, has its own noteworthy improvements to announce.
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Remote work is more mainstream than ever before in human history and companies like Logitech and Google are looking to reinvent what that looks like. Project Starline uses AI to create a photorealistic model of another person that looks as if you were talking to someone through a window, rather than a computer screen.
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Google has shrunk the Project Starline technology, from the booth used during initial prototypes, to a system roughly the size of a TV with a stand. It achieved this through significant AI advancements that combine the feeds of several standard cameras and sensors to create realistic 3D images from a screen.
The tech giant has already deployed the latest prototype of Project Starline through an early access program, giving companies like T-Mobile, Salesforce, and WeWork a chance to try it. Some of the users' experiences were shared yesterday in a video released by Google.
"The first meeting I had on Starline, I said, 'wow, you've got blue eyes'. And this is the person I've been meeting with for a year," said David Levinson from Salesforce in the video. "Just to see a person in 3D, it was really outstanding."
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These videoconferencing techniques aim to make it so someone who may be miles or oceans away feel like they're right in front of you.
"Project Starline has the potential to help create authentic and immersive connections that foster deeper relationships with both our employees and customers, enhance trust and transparency, and drive productivity and efficiency," Andy White, senior vice president of Business Technology at Salesforce explained.
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In earlier versions, Project Starline required the use of infrared light emitters and special cameras to achieve the lifelike images. Assembled, this system used to occupy the space of a large restaurant booth, which poses difficulties for offices that want to adopt the technology without sufficient space for it.