According to a BBC.co.uk article, scientists are working on ways to make teleconferencing more real by using animated robotic avatars of the speakers that mimic the movements of the person at the other end of the line. They use claymation as an example of how it might work, and hope that someday some sort of nano-dust might be developed that would form itself into a model of the speaker and supplant the robotic avatar idea.
This got me to thinking of other ways that technology like this could be useful. Joe commented on a post I did a while back (about DakStats, an online sports statistics system) that an offshoot of DakStats could be integrated with a Playstation game or a Tivo-style function that would allow you to watch a virtual representation of a live game, and give a greater level of control over how you watch that game, and even let you do what-if scenarios in the middle of that game.
What if those nano-particles could assemble themselves as miniature players on a team, and you could watch the game just as if you were there? (I get a mental picture of a frustrated Vikings fan taking out his frustrations by smashing those little players back into nano-particles when a play doesn’t go just right!)
Another thought is that with a teleconferencing system like this, since there is a three-dimensional image of the caller in front of you, many people would be tempted to literally “reach out and touch” the caller; what if those same nano-particles could form a hand on the other end to actually emulate that touch. Sort of a two-way, three-dimensional interactive teleconference. (Wow. That brings up some mental pictures that I don’t care to share right now!)