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View Full Version : BBC: "Webcam Lets Users Eyeball Others"

Suhit Gupta
07-02-2004, 02:00 PM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3833831.stm' target='_blank'>http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3833831.stm</a><br /><br /></div><i>"Instant messaging could get a lot more interesting if webcam technology from Microsoft gets the go-ahead. i2i, in development at Microsoft's research lab in Cambridge, UK, is a two-camera system which very carefully follows an individual's movement. It uses a specially developed algorithm to fuse what each camera sees to create an accurate stereo "cyclopean" image. This means it looks as if users are looking each other in the eye. It can also display floating 3D emoticons."</i><br /><br /><img src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/images/_40306757_mic_camscreen203b.jpg" /><br /><br />I have been using Instant Messaging for several years now and this would be a very cool addition to the experience. Apparently over 18.5 million people are using webcams when IM'ing each other (I have done it only a couple of times, and only when chatting with my parents. Since they live in India, they want to see me every chance they get, but the whole setup got too tedious for the incredibly low resolution images and we soon put an end to it). Anyways, this would not necessarily help with the blurry images but it would enhance the experience.

07-05-2004, 04:11 AM
It would be nice if Microsoft actually worked on getting the image size and frame rate up a little, wouldn't it - this sort of new thing is interesting, but simple quality webconferencing would be a bigger breakthrough. There's no comparison between a MSN Messenger video chat and an Apple iChat session.

The only thing I have seen come close is the SightSpeed video messenger - I haven't paid for an account (cheap bastard that I am), but the free 15 minutes a day is a good way to see the improvement over MSN/Windows Messenger. What they've done that's so smart, other than improving the size of the window and the quality of the picture, is made lag free audio and high frame rates take precedence over video quality. So sometimes it's a bit pixellated, but the other person is moving and talking in real time. This is much preferable to a clear but frozen picture with badly synced audio.