Microsoft researchers have created a very impressive stereo camera dubbed i2i for instant messaging. This camera can actually track the user so that the video conversation can be given a more face-to-face conversation. Along with having the ability to create 3D image if multiple webcams are used. Unfortunately no release date has been announced.
Computer science boffins at Microsoft's research labs in Cambridge have developed i2i, a stereo camera for use with instant messaging technology that automatically frames and tracks its subject. This makes it seem that the user is looking at the camera, even he is actually looking at his PC screen: so video communication is more like face-to-face conversation.
Using multiple webcams and a new algorithm, the technology creates a 3D image which can be rotated and viewed from many angles. Like 3D photography, this relies on combining two (or more) sets of camera data to produce one Cyclopean image. Unlike still photography, the algorithm can produce the image in real time, on an ordinary laptop.
The team has also developed 3D emoticons. These can be included in the combined image, and appear to float in orbit around the users head, with pretty impressive field depth. It can also blur the background, allowing a certain amount of self censorship, or insert an entirely alien background.
News source: The Register