Google reveals project Starline specs and proof it’s better than Zoom

Source: Google

What would you like to know

  • Project Starline is a new way to connect remotely with people giving them the feeling of being present with them, known as telepresence.
  • The stand uses an 8K screen with a parallax barrier type lens array to display 3D images without using glasses.
  • User movements and audio are tracked via 3 “pods” which are used to render a realistic 3D version of a person to be transmitted wirelessly.

When Google announced the Starline project at Google I / O 2021 in May, no one was under the illusion that the technology behind was straightforward. A new white paper published by Google research, spotted by 9to5Google, just details How? ‘Or’ What complicated technology actually is.

It all starts with the booth design, which is similar to a familiar restaurant booth and provides users with a comfortable place to sit while they meet or converse with other people from a distance. Google says it chose a sit-down design primarily for this purpose.

Since comfort was paramount to the design, Google chose to develop technology that didn’t require users to wear anything – like one of the best VR headsets or 3D glasses – while still being able to see. and to hear the person on the other side as realistically as possible.

Google also wanted to make sure that users had the freedom to move around a bit, stretch their legs, and still have a full view of the person on the other end of their head, head to waist.

Google has built Project Starline booths with the ability to display a realistic 3D recreation of the person on the other end, with the ability to see them from multiple angles, maintain eye contact, and even hear sound like s ‘it came from the other person’s mouth.

Technical arrangement of the Starline projectSource: Google

To achieve this, Project Starline records and tracks individuals with a set of three “pods” – two located above the screen on the left and right sides, and one centered below the screen – which contains four cameras. 1280 × 1024 synchronized monochrome working at 120Hz, with filters to block near infrared light so that additional display information is not picked up by mistake.

Think about how a Wii Remote would panic when sunlight poured into a room and you will quickly understand the importance of blocking out this type of light.

The lower module contains an additional RGB camera that captures the color necessary to correctly reproduce an individual in 3D space. Four cardioid microphones are also found in these modules, helping the system reproduce exactly where the sound is coming from when it finally recreates the person on the other end.

Starline project image creation podsSource: Google

The visual and audio information captured from these cameras is then rendered to a Lenovo P920 PC with four GPUs – that is, two NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 GPUs and two NVIDIA GeForce Titan RTX GPUs – then sent over the Internet via WebRTC. . Essentially, a composite image is created using all of the images from the pods combined into one big chunk.

The 3D recreation of the person sitting in the Project Starline booth not only allows Google to send a higher quality image than can be provided via 2D video like you will find on Zoom, Skype or FaceTime, but it also gives also the ability to move and rotate the 3D model to create the illusion of a three-dimensional person sitting in front of you.

This screen is a custom 65-inch 8K panel with stereoscopic lenses, which have at least a fleeting similarity to the screen found in a Nintendo 3DS, which uses a parallax barrier. Unlike a parallax barrier, which has a small “sweet spot” where the 3D image is created, Project Starline lenses are used to send a different image to each eye, recreating 3D vision in a completely natural way.

It’s safe to say that VR can create a similar experience in many ways, but Google points out that existing VR headsets don’t have a wide enough field of view and struggle to properly recreate a face because a VR headset is blocking one. enjoy the game. when worn.

Starline project rendering errorsSource: Google

Latency and other common issues that still affect internet communication can also affect Starline a bit, but it looks like it might do a better job than we’d expect from current 2D video solutions.

The Starline project has been used by Google for many reasons including integration and meetings, but it is not clear how widely we will see Starline used in offices or other commercial areas in the future. . For now, watch the original Google announcement video below to see it in action.


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