Tele-immersion may be the next major development in information technology. Using tele-immersion, you can visit an individual across the world without stepping a foot outside.
What is Tele-Immersion?
Tele-Immersion is a new medium that enables a user to share a virtual space with remote participants. The user is immersed in a 3D world that is transmitted from a remote site. This medium for human interaction, enabled by digital technology, approximates the illusion that a person is in the same physical space as others, even though they may be thousands of miles distant.
It combines the display and interaction techniques of virtual reality with new computer-vision technologies. Thus with the aid of this new technology, users at geographically distributed sites can collaborate in real time in a shared, simulated, hybrid environment submerging in one another’s presence and feel as if they are sharing the same physical space.
It is the ultimate synthesis of media technologies:
• 3D environment scanning
• Projective and display technologies
• Tracking technologies
• Audio technologies
• Robotics and haptics
• Powerful networking
The considerable requirements for tele-immersion system, make it one of the most challenging net applications.
In a tele-immersive environment computers recognize the presence and movements of individuals and objects, track those individuals and images, and then permit them to be projected in realistic, multiple, geographically distributed immersive environments on stereo-immersive surfaces.
This requires sampling and resynthesis of the physical environment as well as the users’ faces and bodies, which is a new challenge that will move the range of emerging technologies, such as scene depth extraction and warp rendering, to the next level.
Tele-immersive environments will therefore facilitate not only interaction between users themselves but also between users and computer generated models and simulations. This will require expanding the boundaries of computer vision, tracking, display, and rendering technologies. As a result, all of this will enable users to achieve a compelling experience and it will lay the groundwork for a higher degree of their inclusion into the entire system.
Tele-immersive systems have potential to significantly change educational, scientific and manufacturing paradigms. They will show their full strength in the systems where having 3D reconstructed ‘real’ objects coupled with 3D virtual objects is crucial for the successful fulfillment of the tasks.
It may also be the case that some tasks would not be possible to complete without having such combination of sensory information. There are several applications that will profit from tele-immersive systems. Collaborative mechanical CAD applications as well as different medical applications are two that will benefit significantly.
Tele-immersion may sound like conventional video conferencing. But it is much more. Where video conferencing delivers flat images to a screen, tele-immersion recreates an entire remote environment. Although not so, tele-immersion may seem like another kind of virtual reality. Virtual reality allows people to move around in a preprogrammed representation of a 3D environment, whereas tele-immersion is measuring the real world and conveying the results to the sensory system.