Chatting over Skype is about as face-to-face as you can get without speaking in person, but Microsoft may be researching ways to make virtual conversations even more personal. A new job listing suggests the company is working on telepresence technology that would depict a virtual hologram of the person on the other end of your Skype conversation.
Microsoft hasn’t confirmed these plans, but the new job listing calls for a software development engineer to help create a “realistic physical ‘body double’ or proxy.”
According to the post, Microsoft is currently developing hardware and software that would make this type of technology possible. Its long term plans involve bringing this hologram feature to Skype.
Aimed at the corporate crowd, Microsoft describes its communication technology as an immersive tool for virtual business meetings that “gives the remote worker a true seat at the table, the ability to look around the room, turn to a colleague and have a side conversation. “
This listing follows another recent job post seeking a software development engineer for the Microsoft Mesa project, which involves “creating telepresence products that will change the way remote workers experience and are experienced in meetings.”
The project suggests that Microsoft wants to develop and monetize its Viewpoint research, which was unveiled about one year ago and uses both color and infrared cameras and projectors to create a 3D hologram.
There’s no word on when we’ll actually see traces of this in the market, but Microsoft has dropped previous hints that 3D technology could be integrated into future products. Last year the company published a patent that depicted a video game system that uses peripherals to project images on to surrounding walls and furniture to expand the gaming environment.