Video chats get far more real looking with Google’s new Challenge Starline


Google’s Challenge Starline makes use of a mix of {hardware} and software program to make video chatting way more real looking. 


We have all turn out to be acquainted with video chat platforms like Zoom and Google Meet over the previous yr, and the fatigue and anxiety that may include hours of video calls, expertise glitches and sitting in a single place staring in any respect these packing containers. However what if video chatting truly felt extra like sitting throughout from an actual particular person and speaking naturally? 

Google’s Challenge Starline, unveiled Tuesday throughout its Google I/O developer convention keynote, makes use of superior expertise to deliver video calls to this subsequent degree. You sit in entrance of what appears like a window, and on the opposite facet, see one other particular person, life-size and in three dimensions. You’ll be able to discuss naturally, and make gestures and eye contact as you’ll sitting throughout from one another at a desk. 

Google’s Challenge Starline makes it seem to be you are speaking to somebody in actual life by a window, as a substitute of by video chat. 


Challenge Starline combines software like laptop imaginative and prescient, machine studying, spatial audio and real-time compression with {hardware} like a brand new gentle subject show system to create extra quantity and depth, with out the necessity for AR or VR glasses or headsets. This makes it really feel like an individual is sitting throughout from you, and the expertise can fade away, Google executives mentioned. 

Google Meet has turn out to be a preferred selection for working and socializing in the course of the pandemic, and Google added a number of new features over the course of the yr to make it simpler for individuals to attach (and to compete with others like Zoom and Microsoft Teams). However Challenge Starline goes far above including the flexibility to vary your video chat background. 

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Google reveals 3D video chat with Project Starline


Back in 2010, Cisco tried out a similar though far lower-tech concept with Umi, a high-definition camera and microphone embedded into your TV for better video calls, with a price tag of $599. It was discontinued about two years later. And more recently, some apps on the market like Spatial have tried to move the virtual meeting format into virtual reality, but none have really taken off, likely in part because of the cost and comfort barriers of those headsets. 

Project Starline uses computer vision, machine learning, spatial audio and real-time compression along with a new light field display system to create a 3D image of the person you’re chatting with.


Project Starline could face similar barriers in terms of consumer adoption: It requires specialized, custom-built equipment, and is currently only available in a few Google offices. The company has demoed it with health care and media partners to get early feedback, and is planning trial deployments in the business space later this year. But Google said its goal is to make Project Starline tech more affordable and accessible, and to bring some of these advancements into its existing communication tools. 

More information will arrive later this year, Google said in a blog post. 

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