Advances in telecommunication technologies have made video-conferencing an integral part of our daily lives. Video-conferencing is widely used for communication across remote locations in a number of industries, which allows users to exchange information and share experiences with each other, despite the distance.
Sharing of panoramic videos, facilitated by 360° cameras has allowed for video conferencing with greater immersion. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Periscope are providing live broadcasting features. Currently, panoramic videos are restricted to broadcasting the host’s view only, limiting the remote user’s understanding of the host’s real environment.
Improving the interactivity and providing a more immersive visual experience for users could lead to greater utility and wider acceptance of panoramic video conferencing.
Shared Sphere is a Mixed Reality panoramic collaboration platform. It combines an Augmented Reality experience for the host user with a Virtual Reality (VR) experience for the guest user. Importantly, Shared Sphere allows view independence, with guest users able to scope the host user’s surroundings independent of the host’s orientation.
Shared Sphere also incorporates view awareness cues that allow the users to see what direction the other person is orientated towards. Finally, Shared Sphere uses motion sensing in the VR environment to create a 3D virtual image of the guest user’s hand gestures for the host. In this way the remote user can use natural hand gestures to communicate with the host user and show points of interest.
The technology can be used for remote assistance in fields such as mining, engineering, teaching and telehealth. It is ideal for applications where the remote user needs to have good awareness of the local host’s environment, and to help them on real world tasks.
We are seeking research and codevelopment partners for further development of this opportunity.