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Three Kinect sensors plus an Oculus Rift equals Minority Report goodness

One day, all office video conferences will be like this

Slowly but surely, we're getting closer to the point when we'll be able to live our entire lives in virtual reality.

Take this brilliant experiment from research computer scientist Oliver Kreylos, who figured out how to put himself in a virtual office space using Oculus Rift and three Kinect sensors.

Oliver has devised a calibration procedure that lets him align the data from multiple Kinect units to each other, meaning his computer can gather the video info from three different sensors placed around the room.

It can then use this data to create a rough 3D model of Oliver, which he can then see inside his Oculus headset. We're finally talking Lawnmower Man stuff here, where people can hold their hands up and actually see them in virtual reality.

Close Close

It's early stages, mind, and Oliver points this out. The Kinects he's using are the low-res Xbox 360 ones, rather than the highly detailed Xbox One versions, and since they're two metres away from Oliver the quality looks more like the girl who crawls out the telly at the end of The Ring, but it's already clear how exciting this is.

Imagine video conferences in the future where, rather than seeing another office on a TV, you can pop on an Oculus Rift and sit round a table with people from all over the world. Or virtual classrooms.

Or imagine you've broken your leg and can't get to the doctor, so you crawl over to your Rift and feebly put it on your head, at which point a hologram of you appears in a crippled mess on your GP's floor, allowing him to diagnose you and exclaim "yup, broken leg innit".

Maybe I'm going a bit too far. Just watch the video, and if you're curious you can read Oliver's full write-up of his experiment.

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