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CMU Video Conference System Gets 3D From Cheap Webcams 94

Hesham writes "Carnegie Mellon University's HCI Institute just released details on their "why-didn't-I-think-of-that-style" 3D video conferencing application. Considering how stale development has been in this field, this research seems like a nice solid step towards immersive telepresence. I was really disappointed with the "state-of-the-art" systems demoed at CES this year — they are all still just a flat, square, video stream. Hardly anything new. What is really cool about this project, is that researchers avoided building custom hardware no one is going to ever buy, and explored what could be done with just the generic webcams everyone already has. The result is a software-only solution, meaning all the big players (AIM, Skype, MSN, etc.) can release this as a simple software update. 'Enable 3D' checkbox anyone? YouTube video here. Behind the scenes, it relies on a clever illusory trick (motion parallax) and head-tracking (a la Johnny Lee's Wiimote stuff — same lab, HCII). It was just presented at IEEE International Symposium on Multimedia in December."

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982