Concept: Google has launched Project Starline, a technological project that can enable people to see three-dimensional, life-size human beings in a virtual window. The product aims to make people feel more connected, leveraging technological advancements, and keeping people in focus.
Nature of Disruption: Project Starline combines hardware and software advances to enable friends, families, and coworkers to feel together, even when they are several kilometers apart. The company states the experience as a kind of magic window through which one person can see another person, in life-size 3D. They can naturally talk, make gestures, and eye contact. Google uses computer vision, ML, spatial audio, and real-time compression research to create this experience. It has ostensibly developed a breakthrough light field display system that allows users to feel a sense of volume and depth without the use of extra glasses or headsets. Moreover, the company claims that once the user sits down and starts talking, the technology fades into the background, and the user can focus on the person in front of them.
Outlook: Project Starline is only available in a handful of Google’s locations for now, and it relies on custom-built hardware and specialized technology, as the company says. Google believes that this is the direction in which person-to-person communication technology can and should go and that it will do so in the future. The company aims to make this technology more inexpensive and accessible, which includes incorporating some of these technological advancements into its communication products. Google claims to have spent thousands of hours within Google testing Project Starline, which connected employees in the Bay Area, New York, and Seattle. It has also conducted demos with select enterprise partners in fields such as healthcare and media to obtain early feedback on the technology and its applications. Later this year, the company plans to do trial deployments with enterprise partners.