I realize that this picture looks like two ordinary people shaking hands, but what is actually going on is far more technical and far more complex.
This photo comes from my Source, who was at NTT’s Showroom at Tokyo and got a chance to try out the “t-room”. Yes, that is what they call it, and is actually is very similar to sitting down for tea.
Here is a brief explanation of what the t-room does. A person stands in this small circular room that is surrounded by person-sized video screens. They can see an image of the person they are talking to, who is in another t-room somewhere. This allows for some video conferencing that is exponentially better than FaceTime on the iPhone 4. You can watch the video after the jump to see what is up.
In the photo, you see these two people shaking hands. In actuality, only the man is real, and has just overlapped his hand with the image on the screen.
Not only is the t-room good for video conferencing, but it is possible for the user on either end to program a different background. For example, the user gets to see the Aurorae in the video. Not only can the background change, but the user can put windows of information on display, as if life was one big Powerpoint Presentation. You can also see that in the video, along with some weird time-delay feature. If you haven’t watched the video by now, then I don’t know how many more hints I can drop to get you to watch it.
I’ve had a lot of phone calls and video conferences in my time, but I think the most life-like communication that I could experience, other than being there, is with the t-room.