Skype plans to add 3D calls in the near future



If you thought 3D was just going to retreat to the headache-inducing cave it came out of, hopefully never to emerge again, we’re sorry but you were wrong. People are still bound by its spell and the latest company to investigate sticking it in its products is Skype.

The VoIP company, which turns 10 this year, has confirmed that it’s investigating the possibility of introducing 3D video calls.

According to the BBC, the Microsoft-owned company had aroused speculation when it advertised that it was looking at creating body doubles, but in an interview with the news giant, an executive cautioned that such technology was a long way away.

“We’ve done work in the labs looking at the capability of 3D-screens and 3D-capture,” said Microsoft’s corporate vice-president for Skype, Mark Gillett.

“We’ve seen a lot of progress in screens and a lot of people now buy TVs and computer monitors that are capable of delivering a 3D image.

“But the capture devices are not yet there. As we work with that kind of technology you have to add multiple cameras to your computer, precisely calibrate them and point them at the right angle.

“We have it in the lab, we know how to make it work and we’re looking at the ecosystem of devices and their capability to support it in order to make a decision when we might think about bringing something like that to market.”

The BBC reckons that Skype getting 3D video calls, could help revive the flagging technology. Naturally Gillett is keen to push the agenda.

“I can imagine a day when you have a 3D-cellphone screen that doesn’t need 3D-glasses to use it,” he said.

“It’s less clear to me that we’re close to having 3D cameras on cellphones.

“We’re in the first year of your TV at home potentially having a camera attached to it, but we’re several years away from the cameras capturing 3D in that context.

“You’ll see much more penetration of 3D on TVs, on computers and ultimately in smartphones, probably, ahead of seeing it for sending a video call.”

We’re not so sure and would advise any big electronics companies to err on the side of caution. After all, TV companies like Samsung and LG pursued 3D TV in a gung-ho fashion in 2010, parading their wares at CES, the world’s biggest consumer electronics event.

This year, the screens were just as massive and nearly all of them came with 3D capability, but no one was really even talking about it.

Let’s hope that Skype’s role under the new “One Microsoft” banner doesn’t get wasted on a pipe dream.



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