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Wired Magazine Ranks Telepresence Solutions - DVE & Musion Take Top Honors

August 11, 2013 | Howard Lichtman

illusion music

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Jeremy Kingsley, writing for the UK edition of Wired Magazine, ranked a number of telepresence solutions ranging from Musion's on-stage illusion to high-end telepresence conferencing solutions from DVE and Polycom to on-going science experiments like the TeleHuman Telepod being developed at the University of Queensland.� The title of the article seems to focus on on-stage telepresence even though the majority of solutions don't really fit into that category (I am assuming it is because the on-stage category only really has two participants: �the Musion Eyeliner and DVE's Telepresence Stage).� For artists interested in creating a catalog of on-stage telepresence content to live on after you and continue to produce ticket sales for your great-grandchildren then you can find some tips for creating telepresence content in this article that I commented on some years ago: http://www.telepresenceoptions.com/2009/07/michael_jackson_to_live_on_and/ . �

Story and images by Jeremy Kingsley / Wired

All-singing, all-dancing -- 3D telepresence is becoming real

Why we tested
As will.i.am often finds himself with meetings�in two different time zones at once - and a long-haul flight isn't always logistically possible -- holography�is his next best option.

How we tested
Wired tried five immersive display systems, from 2D projections to 360 degree near-holographic models. We judged on realism, immersiveness and elaborateness of staging. Many suffer from lags and motion blur, and eye contact can be an issue, with skewed gaze ruining the illusion. We judged against these concerns, ranking from rudimentary to convincing, and on their "uncanny valley" factor.

will i am

Musion Eyeliner�(pictured above)

A world leader, recognised for digitally resurrecting Tupac Shakur at Coachella 2012, Musion doesn't create true holograms but adapts the Pepper's Ghost effect. An HD projector illuminates a thin, effectively invisible foil in front of the stage, from a 45-degree angle. The image hits a reflective surface below the foil, and also passes through it, on to the stage behind. The 3D effect is extraordinary; Wired was genuinely hesitant to differentiate humans and projections. The subject appears to look directly at you, offering a disturbing intensity of intimacy. Unfortunately, only the audience can see it -- those on stage rely on monitors.

Live telepresence needs a fast, direct connection of 10-20 Mbps (recordings are higher quality), but Musion uses its own codec that reduces lag and eliminates most of the signs of motion blur.

Wired: Convincing to the point of creepy
Tired: Elaborate staging; visible by audience only
Score: 8
Cost: Rentals from �40,000
musion.co.uk

Specifications
Projection effect: Pepper's Ghost
Telepresence: One way (one to thousands)
Display area:�6m x 4m stage�(varies)
Line of sight: Direct

Polycom RealPresenceExperience (RTX)

Polycom's RTX is a virtual conference-room. A single widescreen with rear projection gives the sense of a continuous oval table, beaming in rooms elsewhere built to the same spec. wired hooked up with various rooms around the world, from Stockholm to Hong Kong, all relatively fuss-free. After a few minutes adjusting, the effect is natural, full-size and absent of cues suggesting anything other than real life. Rooms with symmetrical distances from cameras (held within the screen) make for natural line of sight and a comfortable conversational distance. Ease of set-up and a rock-solid back end makes the RTX convenient enough for the first-class-flying financier�to think twice before travelling.

Wired: Ease of use; natural feel
Tired: The image is only in 2D
Score: 6
Cost: Installations from $300,000
polycom.co.uk

Specifications
Projection effect: Rear projection
Telepresence:�Two way
Display area:�96" x 42" (24:9) screen
Line of sight: Direct�(EyeConnect)

dve holograph music

DVE Immersion Room�(pictured above)

A mix of Musion and Polycom's methods, DVE's Immersion Room uses the same Pepper's Ghost effect as Musion, but has engineered it to work convincingly in a close-up environment. For 3D telepresence, it's the better of both. The setup we tried was to the same spec as that used by the US Department of Energy. A beam-splitting angled foil projects a 120-inch image across from the table, and produces an intensely bright, lifelike image. The screen is apparently edgeless, making the staging of an illusion unnoticeable, and the camera sits invisibly behind the screen, so line of sight is direct and communication feels very natural. Any codec can be used, so performance quality varies -- but clients can pick and choose to adapt it to their specific needs.�

Wired: Close-up hologram
Tired: The very expensive option
Score: 8
Cost: Installations from around $1.2 million
dvetelepresence.com

Specifications
Projection effect: Pepper's Ghost
Telepresence: Two way (up to�nine per room)
Display area: 120-inch (16:9)�screen
Line of sight: Direct

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