German Firm has Plans to Market Direct Eye Contact Video Conferencing

  • Technology R&D firm Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute in Berlin has announced a major breakthrough in direct eye-to-eye contact for video conferencing. Fraunhofer HHI hopes to implement the new technology in consumer laptops and office desktop systems.
  • “Called the Virtual Eye Contact Engine, the software module analyses the scene in real-time 3D from three cameras mounted around the display,” reports 3D Focus. “It computes the depth structure information of the person’s head which is used to generate a 3D model. The 3D model is then used to compute the view of the virtual camera for both parties and the rendered output appears to show each person looking directly at each other.”
  • Fraunhofer HHI believes the technology will help resolve the problem experienced with eye contact during video conferencing. “Eye contact is one of the most important elements of non-verbal communication and without this, each person can feel slightly disconnected from the conversation,” suggests the article.
  • “We are working on a product release for our system,” says Ingo Feldman, scientific project manager 3D Video & Immersive Media Group. “We expect the first version on the market in about one year’s time…On one hand we plan to provide an office desktop system with high quality virtual eye contact correction. On the other hand, we plan a consumer market solution which is capable to run on laptop environments. As we are a research institution, we are always interested in industry partners which will finance our product development.”