While 3D may have flopped in the living room, its potential for video conferencing shines brightly.
Personify has launched an immersive video calling app and platform of the same name featuring Intel’s RealSense technology, which promises to bring a more immersive and realistic experience to video calling.
Launched in 2009 as an online presentation tool, Personify has evolved into a multi-purpose video communications platform via 3D technology similar to the Xbox Kinect. It enables friends, family and colleagues to interact online as if they were in the same room. Everyone sits side by side on the desktop, as opposed to separate video windows.
The app uses depth-sensing technology to overlay the real-time video of a presenter — extracted from their background like a green screen without the need for the physical screen or editing — onto anything on their desktop. This consumer oriented product lets you chat with multiple friends with the full screen open, so you can watch movies, sports, play games, book flights and browse social media together in real time. Of course, it also works well for business collaborations.
The app’s background removal technology lets people video chat in a shared virtual space resembling Skype or Google Hangouts in concept, but without being confined to little square boxes.
“From the beginning, our vision has been to make a video call feel more life-like and Intel’s RealSense technology has enabled us to make that vision a reality,” said Sanjay Patel, CEO and co-founder of Personify.
The background subtraction technology behind Personify is licensed by Intel and included in the Intel RealSense SDK for external use by other developers and applications in its ecosystem.
Personify is available for free and works with Windows 7 and 8. A Mac version is due out later this year. While the background removal technology requires a 3D camera, users can have video calls with friends who do not have a 3D camera. In that instance they are stuck in a box much like Skype or Google Hangouts.
However, Personify sees great potential to spread this technology as various companies accelerate adoption of 3D technology into their laptops. When that happens, 3D cameras are going to be much more widely available, according to Personify’s calculations.
Personify is available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese.