Monday, December 24, 2007

See Eye 2 Eye

For the past year I've used a home-built videoconferencing unit I developed that enabled me to make accurate eye contact with my video caller. I'll give more details in a later post, but I was intrigued to come across a similar system in principle shown here, at Bodelin.

It is designed to give true eye contact with your caller. The unit fits over the top of your screen, and with a couple of 45 degree mirrors reflects the image so that you are looking directly into the subject's eyes. I've ordered one just now, and will do a review when I get it.

The Bodelin website explains: "See Eye 2 Eye works like a periscope. When you place this patented device over your webcam, a set of mirrors beams the picture of the person you're talking to onto our optical grade beam-splitting glass, which sits in front of your webcam lens. You can see the reflected image while the other party isn't even aware you're looking at anything but your webcam."

One of my questions about its usefulness is the small image size. It looks like you need to reduce the caller's image to 320 x 240 on your screen to get the picture to fit the unit.

That's too small for me - I like to increase a video to full screen (19") for full immersion. A small picture is no better than a videophone like the Ojo with all its size and quality restrictions.

Some people will prefer small talking heads, but I believe the true immersive experience involves a varied background and extended views. For example, when I pick my Logitech Quickcam 9000 off the top of the screen and turn it round my home office, the viewer is always excited to see the larger view. This is the ultimate experience for improved realism and interactivity.

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