Japanese telecommunications giant NTT is developing a videoconferencing system that literally turns heads. In an attempt to more accurately give the feeling of a face-to-face conversation between more than two people, the MM-Space system features displays that physically mimic the head movements of the person being displayed on screen.
The system records the faces and voices of users and places the individuals in a virtual conversation circle. This is represented in the real world by a circle of projection displays. Each user appears on a separate display that is controlled by actuators that allow the screen to physically turn left and right and angle up and down to mimic the head movements of the person onscreen. The user's head movements are captured using face-tracking software.
To heighten the feeling that the conversation is happening in the real world, the system also removes the background and displays a life-size image of the user on a transparent display.
While NTT is still figuring out the best camera positioning and working on getting the system working in real time, a demonstration of the technology can be seen in the DigInfo video below.