New technology allows people across the world to interact with each other and objects like they are in the same room
While you can't yet teleport or clone yourself to be in two places nearly at
once, computer scientists are working on what might be the next best thing.
support from IBM (NYSE:IBM) Research and Nokia Research Center, the VTT
Technical Research Centre of Finland created an experimental system that
enables people in multiple locations to interact and collaborate with avatars
and objects in a single, virtual meeting. Objects and avatars are located in a
"virtual" space that mirrors the corresponding physical room.
cameras and microphones located on both ends of the conversation allow voices,
head and hand gestures and movements to change in concert with the behavior of
participants, enabling participants to sense the vital visual cues of body
language. In this proof-of-concept, participants in physical rooms wear video
see through glasses that depict three-dimensional images of their online
counterparts as they stand, walk, talk or demonstrate and manipulate virtual
objects shared between the spaces.
The system, called ACME,
which stands for Augmented Collaboration in Mixed Environments, was assembled
using an open source viewer from Linden Lab's Second Life virtual world, as
well as from open source ARToolkit and OpenCV libraries. The use of open
source components lowers the costs associated with the project as it matures,
and encourages the participation of more computer programmers and developers.
technology provides a more affordable and eco-friendly alternative to physical
meetings. It is also more interactive than telephone conferences, video
conferences - and even on-screen meetings held exclusively in virtual spaces.
is a compelling example of the kind of R&D now being conducted that will
enable the business community to work more intelligently, in a more
productive, efficient, convenient and immersive fashion," said Neil Katz, an
IBM Distinguished Engineer in the company's CIO Office, and liaison with the
ACME project. "It's easy to imagine that this technology, especially when it
becomes somewhat more mature, will give people a promising new option for
collaborating more interactively with colleagues in an increasingly
The research towards this new
level of meeting experience was supported by the Finnish Funding Agency for
Technology and Innovation (TEKES). IBM Research, together with Nokia Research
Center, provided additional funding and contributed to the technical direction.
of ACME will be installed at IBM Research - Austin and Nokia Research Center -
Tampere/Finland for internal use and further testing and development. ACME
will also be demonstrated at the International Symposium on Augmented and
Mixed Reality (ISMAR) in Orlando, Florida, USA, from October 19 - 22, 2009.
view a clip showing ACME in action, please visit.
more about VTT's Augmented Reality team, please visit
IBM Media Relations