Canon has begun granting early access to Kokomo, an 'immersive calling' platform for VR headsets that will enable users to virtually chat with others. To pull this off, Kokomo's AI will generate an image of the user's face to replace the part blocked by the goggles.
OK, it sounds bonkers, but that's what Canon is saying and they're inviting people in the USA and Canada to sign up. The system uses the Meta Quest 2 VR headset (formerly known as the Oculus Quest 2 until it joined the Metaverse).
This is the same tech we first reported on coming out of CES 2022 (admittedly with a beefier-looking Canon M-series camera), and then again in January this year. Now, however, it seems Canon really wants North Americans to join in.
You can buy Meta Quest 2 VR goggles on their own – they are sold with either 128GB or 256GB of internal storage. This solution, however, requires you to have a phone with a mobile companion app (iOS or Android). This pairs with the goggles and serves as the remote camera, so you'll clearly need a stand for the phone, too.
An image of you from the remote camera is taken and placed into the meeting, and the 'true appearance' is re-created, minus the headset, in the visual seen at the other end. How true the appearance can be when the computer is guessing at the top half of the face does seem open to doubt, but Canon has now been testing the tech over a year.
This does promise to revolutionize camera-based meetings, and Canon/Kokomo have already got some less stuffy environments in mind. A surf shack is one, with others called 'North Shore' and 'Mountain Tea House'.
VR enthusiasts looking to try the tech out will find downloads in the Meta Quest App Lab and Canon USA's Kokomo page.