The TeleHuman is a life-size, 3D video chat pod straight out of your sci-fi dreams

TeleHumanMicrosoft’s Kinect motion sensor is very popular, whether it’s being used in its native environment to make beloved Star Wars characters rhythmically jiggle around, or hacked to an insane, powered skateboard to provide a gesture control system, it’s varied abilities are certainly being exploited.

Now a series of the sensors find themselves attached to the TeleHuman, a 3D display that “beams” a life-size representation of yourself to another pod in another location, so you can talk and interact with other people as if you were really there.

The TeleHuman is a cylindrical pod that stands just under two-meters tall and has a 3D projector hidden inside its base. This projects your image onto a convex mirror, which then reflects it onto the wrap-around acrylic screen.

It’s a complete 360-degree representation too, enabling the viewer to walk around the TeleHuman as they would if the person were really in the room, and although it’s not actually holographic, it looks exactly how we imagine that technology to appear.

There are six Kinect sensors mounted around the top of the TeleHuman, which capture your position, then another four are placed around the room to form a “square,” and they record your back and side view to complete the 3D picture.

Exciting, but expensive

Developed by the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University in Ontario, the TeleHuman has been designed with video-conferencing, teaching and medical work in mind. You can see one possible application in the video below, where a system called BodiPod uses gestures and an interactive 3D image to help teach anatomy.

In the same way that FaceTime has been embraced by the adult entertainment industry, we can see any future, commercial versions of the TeleHuman also being adopted for more “intimate” video conferences too.

So, the TeleHuman brings use one step closer to making our sci-fi communication dreams a reality, but there are a couple of drawbacks. First, one still has to wear 3D glasses to see the image in three dimensions, which will dim the image even more; and second, it’s quite expensive.

Professor Roel Vertegaal, Director of the Human Media Lab, told that a “mass production” TeleHuman would cost around $5,000 — with at least $1,500 of that being taken up by the ten Kinect sensors — and as you’d need one for each person taking part in the conversation, that’s a big investment.

However, given that the parts used are almost all commercially available, it may not be that long until the price drops to something at least slightly more reasonable.

Emerging Tech

CRISPR gene therapy regulates hunger, staves off severe obesity in mice

Researchers from UC San Francisco have demonstrated how CRISPR gene editing can be used to prevent severe obesity in mice, without making a single edit to the mouse's genome. Here's how.

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.

Apple's iOS 12.1.1 makes it easier to switch cameras in FaceTime

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The latest OS comes along with tons of new capabilities, from grouped notifications to Siri Shortcuts. Here are all the features you'll find in iOS 12.

From DSLRs to mirrorless, these are the best cameras you can buy right now

From entry-level models to full-frame flagships, many cameras take great photos and video. The best digital cameras, however, push the industry forward with innovative sensors and improved usability, among other things. Here are our…

Xbox One S vs. PlayStation 4 Slim: Which console is worth your money?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Rise of the Machines: Here’s how much robots and A.I. progressed in 2018

2018 has generated no shortage of news, and the worlds of A.I. and robotics are no exception. Here are our picks for the most exciting, game changing examples of both we saw this year.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Parker Solar Probe captures first image from within the atmosphere of the sun

NASA has shared the first image from inside the atmosphere of the sun taken by the Parker Solar Probe. The probe made the closest ever approach to a star, gathering data which scientists have been interpreting and released this week.
Emerging Tech

Say cheese: InSight lander posts a selfie from the surface of Mars

NASA's InSight mission to Mars has commemorated its arrival by posting a selfie. The selfie is a composite of 11 different images which were taken by one of its instruments, the Instrument Deployment Camera.
Emerging Tech

Researchers create a flying wireless platform using bumblebees

Researchers at the University of Washington have come up with a novel way to create a wireless platform: using bumblebees. As mechanical drones' batteries run out too fast, the team made use of a biology-based solution using living insects.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Bright ‘hyperactive’ comet should be visible in the sky this weekend

An unusual green comet, 46P/Wirtanen, will be visible in the night sky this month as it makes its closest approach to Earth in 20 years. It may even be possible to see the comet without a telescope.
Emerging Tech

Gorgeous images show storms and cloud formations in the atmosphere of Jupiter

NASA's Juno mission arrived at Jupiter in 2016 and has been collecting data since then. NASA has shared an update on the progress of the mission as it reaches its halfway point, releasing stunning images of the planet as seen from orbit.