Kinect used to make teleconferencing actually kind of cool (video)

No matter how hard Skype and others try to convince us otherwise, we still do most of our web communications via text or, if entirely unavoidable, by voice. Maybe we're luddites or maybe video calling has yet to prove its value. Hoping to reverse such archaic views, researchers at the MIT Media Lab have harnessed a Kinect's powers of depth and human perception to provide some newfangled videoconferencing functionality. First up, you can blur out everything on screen but the speaker to keep focus where it needs to be. Then, if you want to get fancier, you can freeze a frame of yourself in the still-moving video feed for when you need to do something off-camera, and to finish things off, you can even drop some 3D-aware augmented reality on your viewers. It's all a little unrefined at the moment, but the ideas are there and well worth seeing. Jump past the break to do just that.