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August 10, 2016

Google Drones Could Take Videoconferencing to Next Level

By Alicia Young
Web Editor

Remember The Jetsons, everyone’s favorite futuristic family? George Jetson was always being “caught” by his boss for not doing his job because he never knew when Mr.  Spacely was going to sneak up on him via videoconferencing technology. In today’s world, if someone is physically out of the office, they’re out of the office. Sure you can check in with emails, texts or phone calls, but the only face to face contact comes from a scheduled videoconference, so for the most part you don’t have to worry about a coworker taking over your computer screen to see what you’re up to. Well, thanks to Google’s (News - Alert) new drones, that could change.

Google has just been awarded a patent for hovering drones with a video feed attached. So, even if someone isn’t physically in the office, their face can still float in. The device would operate via Skype (News - Alert), Hangouts or some other similar service. There would be a phone attached to the drone itself or via a phone connected wireless from elsewhere in the room. This opens up the potential for someone working remotely to be more engaged in conferences or even the office itself, and the drone can hover around the room and even wander through office corridors.

The tech giant has also been playing around with the idea of holograms. Drone systems equipped with a projection camera could beam a hologram underneath it. Welcome to the era of The Jetsons or Star Wars, where you could potentially have conversations with a flickering, holographic image. Assuming that you’re not sleeping on the job like George or planning to take over the galaxy like the Empire, holographic images could be a pretty cool development.

In order for either of these developments to take place, Google would have to figure out how to make drones much quieter and less distracting. It would be difficult to focus on what your boss is saying if you’re holding a conversation with a whirring, loud drone. Whether these drones become commonplace of not remains to be seen. Either way, it looks like we might finally be catching up to The Jetsons.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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