Human beings are social animals who like to connect with their counterparts in one way or another. While we have reached significant milestones in the arena of technology, communication remains a considerable roadblock. An entire plethora of video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Teams, among significant others, have been made available to the masses and are in constant use, especially due to the pandemic. However, all of them are far behind the actual face-to-face talking experience, thereby offering only limited connectivity.
What is Project Starline?
Project Starline is a new form of technology project that has been in the pipeline for a few years. It claims to combine the advancements in both hardware and software to create a feeling of togetherness even when the individuals being connected are sitting in opposite corners of the world. This new piece of technology from Google, if successful, would have the capacity to take virtual meetings to the next level. The blend of virtual and augmented reality would allow people a sense of sitting just across the other person, and the fascinating part is that the use of headsets and additional glasses would not be required because of the breakthrough achieved in light field display by the team at Google.
The Working of the Technology
To achieve this new milestone, the team at Google has built a booth with more than a dozen depth sensors and cameras. The booth converts the participants into 3D display. Therefore, the participants can be perceived holistically, allowing the other person to almost reach out to them and touch them. According to Google, this technology would be like looking through a magical window where you’re able to see the other participant holistically in three dimensions, and you can talk most naturally, making both gestures and eye contact. The technology starts to fade once the connection is made and in no way acts as a barrier for the participants, who are then allowed to focus solely on effective communication. Computer vision research coupled with machine learning, spatial audio, and real-time compression has made this possible.
Advantages of the Technology for Remote Working
Remote working has become a norm for most multinational corporations, and it is expected to continue for quite a while. Some companies have also allowed for the continuation of remote working practices for the convenience of the employees even when offices across the world start to function normally once again. This trend would give an unprecedented impetus to all the videoconferencing platforms. If Project Starline achieves what it is aiming for, it would potentially become a gamechanger in the field. The question at hand is, would it replace conventional videoconferencing and become the choice of millions across the globe and help recruit new employees both overseas and across cities.
This type of technology could enhance the level of communication given the fact that the holistic picture will be into play here. An important point to note is that human communication is equally non-verbal, if not more than verbal communication. The current video conferencing platforms have the primary focus on the latter part. People could feel closer to each other and develop healthy human connections without having the barrier of physical proximity. The remote interviews could be converted off the screen and into the room, providing a personal touch and help the employer to evaluate the job seeker better.
While some Google employees have already started using this new piece of technology for videoconferencing between the offices of Seattle and New York, however for the general public, it is not yet available and is still in the prototype juncture. Google plans to try this technology multiple times before it is released in public and has a few test business trials lined up for the same purpose. This technology, for now, does not aim to be available to everyone for their day-to-day communications but is more likely to make its way into business.
Amreen Bawa is a consulting intern at MarktechPost. Along with pursuing BA Hons in Social Sciences from Panjab University, Chandigarh, she is also a keen learner and writer, having special interest in the application and scope of artificial intelligence in various facets of life.