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For those of us who like to imagine we’re already living in the future, this 3D teleconferencing setup seems to corroborate our theory. A project of the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, the 3D video teleconferencing setup works by projecting a high-speed video feed onto a spinning mirror.

Unlike the CNN newscaster hologram made famous during the 2008 presidential elections, which was essentially a visual effect, ICT’s system renders a real 3D image — in the second half of the demonstration video below you can see that a viewer standing 90 degrees to either side of the remote participant’s face can actually see the side of the subject’s head. The system was being shown off at the independently-organized TED event TEDxUSC at the university’s downtown Los Angeles campus yesterday.

Much of the purpose behind the technology — besides looking cool and futuristic — is to bring appropriate emotional cues and eye contact back into the teleconferencing realm that two-dimensional setups simply can’t provide. Under this system, the remote participant can make clear eye contact with specific individuals in her or his own frame of view.

In development and prototype stages for the past several years, this setup seems even more timely now during the Year of 3D. Check out the demo video below and let us know what you think: is it mostly novelty, or will 3D video teleconferencing technology be big?

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Tags: 3D, 3D teleconferencing, ICT, tech, teleconferencing, USC