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MetaCap: bringing reality into the virtual world

The basic set-up of video calls is quite boring because everything is in 2D. That’s why TNO is bringing reality closer to the virtual world. By using special cameras, people can be recorded in a depth image and displayed so realistically during a conversation that it seems they are sitting with you on the sofa or at the conference table. The image goes from the flat 2D to 3D. The MetaCap technology is now market ready.


Graphic avatars evolve

TNO makes 3D recordings of people in real-time. This creates a point cloud, which can be projected into a virtual space. This allows one-to-one conversations to be visualised very realistically, even to the point of meeting with multiple people in one room. Traditional graphical avatars make way for real representation of people, which can be projected in a variety of positions and situations in a 3D stream. MetaCap: volumetric characters in virtual reality. Intertwining the physical and digital worlds.


During a meeting via Teams or Zoom, for example, all the participants' heads are now shown in a window on your screen, each with its own background. In the new situation, you’ll see the meeting table in front of you with your colleagues, even if everyone is in a different location. During Covid, we made it possible for grandparents, who weren’t allowed visitors, to see their children or grandchildren sitting on the sofa with them in augmented reality. They were still distancing, but the 3D livestream made it so realistic that there was a sense of being together.

Various applications

The applications are legion. TNO has demonstrated how rescue operations at sea, where time and speed of action are crucial, can be made more efficient. Training people remotely becomes much more realistic. Or, for example, conversations in which it is important to see someone's posture and facial expressions, such as job interviews. It can also be applied to all kinds of communication involving mutual trust. And for contact between family members, MetaCap has already proven to be a successful application.

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