Develop four prototypes of the telepresence system of the 21st century
Nanyang Technological University (NTU, Singapore), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich, Switzerland) and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill, US) have collaborated to start a new international research centre for telepresence and telecollaboration.
The research centre, BeingThere Centre, is started with an objective of changing the way humans communicate by bringing the advanced and sophisticated interactive real-time 3-D communication technologies into everyday usage.
The new research centre is started with an investment of $18m by the three universities and the Media Development Authority of Singapore.
A team of 32 scientists across three continents will work jointly to develop four prototypes of the telepresence systems that are aimed at revolutionising the way humans communicate, as telephone did in 21th century.
As per the terms of the collaboration, the parties will share the intellectual property and commercialisation benefits arising from the joint research conducted at the BeingThere Centre.
The first prototype to be developed by the research centre is a telepresence room that virtually joins several similarly instrumented remote rooms, located at various places across the world. These rooms will all have wall-sized displays that give the illusion that the rooms are adjacent and separated only by glass walls.
As part of second application development, researchers will work on a mobile display that brings a 3-D graphical representation of one person in a distant location to a place that is controllable by both users.
Further, the research work also include a mobile robotic mannequin that acts as a remotely located "avatar" that could freely navigate a distant environment and take on the appearance and gestures of its far-away human host; and an autonomous virtual human with memory and awareness capabilities that can take the place of its host when he or she is absent.
Media Development Authority interactive digital media programme office executive director Michael Yap said with the BeingThere Centre, some of the best minds in US and Europe were brought together in Singapore to partner NTU to push the boundaries of 3-D display and digital communications.