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Multi-party Holomeetings: Toward a New Era of Low-Cost Volumetric Holographic Meetings in Virtual Reality

by   Sergi Fernandez, et al.

Fueled by advances in multi-party communications, increasingly mature immersive technologies being adopted, and the COVID-19 pandemic, a new wave of social virtual reality (VR) platforms have emerged to support socialization, interaction, and collaboration among multiple remote users who are integrated into shared virtual environments. Social VR aims to increase levels of (co-)presence and interaction quality by overcoming the limitations of 2D windowed representations in traditional multi-party video conferencing tools, although most existing solutions rely on 3D avatars to represent users. This article presents a social VR platform that supports real-time volumetric holographic representations of users that are based on point clouds captured by off-the-shelf RGB-D sensors, and it analyzes the platform's potential for conducting interactive holomeetings (i.e., holoconferencing scenarios). This work evaluates such a platform's performance and readiness for conducting meetings with up to four users, and it provides insights into aspects of the user experience when using single-camera and low-cost capture systems in scenarios with both frontal and side viewpoints. Overall, the obtained results confirm the platform's maturity and the potential of holographic communications for conducting interactive multi-party meetings, even when using low-cost systems and single-camera capture systems in scenarios where users are sitting or have a limited translational movement along the X, Y, and Z axes within the 3D virtual environment (commonly known as 3 Degrees of Freedom plus, 3DoF+)


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