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Apple is working on a ‘bionic virtual meeting room’

Will the meetings of the future be held in virtual meeting rooms? With accurately rendered avatars of the people you’re meeting? According to a new Apple patent, they might be. 

A new patent, spotted by Protocol, shows that Apple is working on a “bionic virtual meeting room”. The description in the patent documents shows that the company is thinking of a way to re-purpose VR technology for business, rather than gaming. It will see people use avatars, which realistically mirror their facial expressions, to meet across any distance.

It reads: “The main area of application of such virtual realities lies in the field of entertainment and games. But it would be desirable to make use of such virtual realities also in other fields, especially in the field of human interaction.”

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So, sort of like an exciting VR game, but without the excitement… or the game.

In all seriousness though, this could be a useful technology for international companies. It could make meeting a colleague in a different country feel more personal than a simple phone call.

Apple are planning detailed, realistic meeting environments, that reflect the reality of their users.

The patent document explains:

“User related data can advantageously also relate to environmental data… If for example the first user is sitting in a chair behind his desk, or on a couch in his sitting room, he can be represented to the second user as an avatar sitting in a chair or on a couch correspondingly. Such environmental data can also relate to the clothes the first user is currently wearing, so that the avatar representing the first user can be displayed with corresponding clothing colours.”

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So, have Apple come up with the meeting rooms of the future? Or a gimmick no one will want to use? Only time will tell. At this point the patent is just an idea and there’s no guarantee a product will come to market. Watch this space for updates.

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