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 Wired.com 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.

Health & Fitness

In search of the fountain of youth, beauty companies turn to tech

Beauty tech is a fairly new concept, but at CES 2019, companies such as Olay, L’Oreal, and Neutrogena were fully embracing it with all kinds of gadgets that promise to give you glowing skin.
Photography

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

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

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.
Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.
Emerging Tech

Meet Wiliot, a battery-less Bluetooth chip that pulls power from thin air

A tiny chip from a semiconductor company called Wiliot could harvest energy out of thin air, the company claims. No battery needed. The paper-thin device pulls power from ambient radio frequencies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cell signals.
Emerging Tech

Hexbot is a modular robot arm that does everything from drawing to playing chess

Who wouldn’t want their own personal robot arm to do everything from laser engraving to competing against you in a game of chess? That's what Hexbot, a new modular robot, promises to deliver.