Nik Karpinsky quickly tapped out a few computer commands until Zeus, in all his bearded and statuesque glory, appeared in the middle of a holographic glass panel mounted to an office desk.

The white statue stared back at Karpinsky. Then a hand appeared and turned the full-size head to the right and to the left. Yes, it was quite clear, Zeus really was pictured in 3D.

And there it was from one computer work station on the second floor of Iowa State University’s Howe Hall to another down on the first floor: Live, streaming 3D teleconferencing at 30 frames per second.

A projector shines a light straight at a teleconferencer, in this case, the bust of Zeus. A camera is placed to the right of the projector, along with one to the left -- both angled toward the subject. The cameras record two images of the light as it is distorted by the subject. The images are combined to create a single 3-D image.

The optical hardware is networked and connected to a standard computer with a graphics card. The computer combines, processes, and compresses the images. The compression allows transmission of 3-D images to another computer, even over wireless networks.


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