Room2Room: Skype meets augmented reality

/ / Augmented reality @en

Skype, the most famous video calls app in the world, changed our lives in a significant way: maybe many of us don’t realize this, but the possibility of calling friends and family living far from us and looking in their eyes while we talk is a think that wasn’t taken for granted until some time ago. The advent of Skype, plus an internet every day more available, wide and fast, changed and improved our habits.

Now Microsoft, owner of Skype, is working on a new step in the ongoing change process: imagine you can go beyond the screen while calling someone on Skype, and to have the possibility of seeing the other person in front of you, as you were comfortably sitting in the same room. Microsoft Research division is working to make all this possible: the project is called Room2Room and will create holograms of other people in front of us while calling them.

How? It will be possible thanks to a system of projectors and Kinect sensors, plus the help of another Microsoft Research’s product, the augmented reality project for videogames RoomAlive.

Tests are already ongoing from some time, and the results highlighted how this system, even while still not being perfect on the side of space perception, is more productive than the normal Skype’s version. A test was about the solution of a puzzle by seven couples in different rooms: reading the data published on MIT Technology Review, when the couples worked face to face the solving time was 2 minutes, when through Room2Room was 7 minutes, while with traditional Skype was 9 minutes. In the researchers note in the paper created by Microsoft Research for the Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing conference in San Francisco: “Quantitative results suggest that, predictably, face-to-face communication is superior in terms of task completion time, sense of presence, and efficiency of communication”.

For now there are no news about a launch on the market soon, but for sure Microsoft will use this technology for something amazing.