Logitech debuts Project Ghost videoconferencing booth prototype at ISE 2023
Video chats came into their own during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing an audiovisual lifeline for fragmented families and social groups, as well as keeping remote-working teams in touch. But they seem rather flat and low-tech compared to the telepresence booth concept presented by Logitech at ISE 2023 this week.
Logitech has decent form for making online communication possible, thanks to its quality webcams and conference cams. With Project Ghost, the company adds another dimension to one-to-one video chats.
The prototype presented at the Integrated Systems Europe audio/video expo in Barcelona, Spain, is a walk-in telepresence booth, very much like Google's Project Starline from 2021.
The setup was inspired by an optical illusion known as Pepper's Ghost, and makes use of a reflective mirror display and hidden camera technology to bring a more genuine in-person feel to a virtual conversation with a remote friend, family or colleague – without the need for VR/AR headsets.
The semi-enclosed booth itself has been built in partnership with furniture maker Steelcase, and puts the user in a comfy lounge chair facing a screen. There's also a side table with a tablet-like control and some greenery for a homely feel.
Logitech makes use of its existing Rally Plus modular 4K videoconferencing system for large spaces and the RoomMate compute module, which are hidden within the booth frame so that users focus on making natural eye contact with the life-size 3D image of the person they're chatting with rather than staring at the camera.
AI-enabled technologies automatically optimize audio, video and lighting for ease of use, and the system is reported compatible with GoogleMeet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom platforms.
On show this week at ISE 2023, and heading for New York demos later this year, there's no word at this stage on when (or if) we'll see a Project Ghost videoconferencing booth in an office or shopping mall or even at home but Logitech's engineers and design team will incorporate feedback received on the working prototype to inform the next iteration.