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Kinect sensors power 3D video chat demo: Telehuman and BodiPod (video)

Kinect sensors power 3D video chat demo: Telehuman and BodiPodKinect Star Wars might not have set the galaxy on fire as far as the reviews go, but this technical demo of 3D video chat, which uses Kinect sensors, may well do.

As well as reminding us of Darth Vader’s video chat with the Emperor in The Empire Strikes Back, the so-called ‘Telehuman’ demo uses Kinect sensors to work out where you are before projecting your shimmering, digital likeness onto a cylindrical display, creating an immersive 3D effect.

Developed by the Human Media Lab (HML) at Queen’s University in Ontario, the cylindrical ‘pod’ stands at two metres tall – the same height as Chewbacca. The Telehuman beams images onto a convex mirror which reflects holograms wraparound style onto the exterior acrylic screen.

A total of six Kinect sensors power the Telehuman, so don’t go taking a scalpel and soldering iron to your Kinect bar. In order to capture a 3D image, a further four Kinect sensors are placed in a square around the room.

So, a convex mirror, a two metre acrylic tube, and ten Kinects – way out of the price range of all but the most affluent of hobbyists. Talking to Wired, Professor Roel Vertegaal of the MHL reckons that a mass-produced version would cost $5,000 (£3,105), with the ten Kinect Sensors making up over one-fifth of the cost.

That’s all well and good but for that money, we’d expect to be able to buy a Kinect Holocron. Whoever you’re hoping to 3D chat with on the other end will need to dig deep for one too…

For budding medical students and 2-1B programmers, the MHL has also developed a BodiPod app, like Google Body in three dimensions. What are your thoughts? Is three grand too much for an experimental 3D video phone with a medical app? Let us know in the comments…