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How to make eye-to-eye contact in video chats, webinars, and hangouts

This is a picture of a SeeEye2Eye from Bodelin Technologies. It’s a periscope that puts people’s face near your webcam to that when you are looking in their eyes you are also looking directly at the camera.

Tried it tonight for a Skype conference. It works extremely well. It will work great for Hangouts too. More info about the product at the Bodelin website.

Thanks to +Scott Atwood for telling me about it.

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101 Comments

  • That's interesting, very nice.

  • Very cool/innovative and looks like a smart purchase +Guy Kawasaki

  • Eye contact is over rated…. ;-)

  • very hot

  • +Guy Kawasaki I just learned about this from +Adryenn Ashley when I hungout with her yesterday. First time I had seen it.

  • +Guy Kawasaki Yesterday, I put my friend's window on my other monitor and placed my laptop in front of the monitor. I made very good eye contact. And today, this comes up!!

  • good idea …it remember how Submarine

  • awesome idea!!! brilliant!

  • Thanks for the ping +Kenneth Manesse Sr. … I saw that item suggested a while ago but have not tried one out… too many toys to try!

  • I'd love to see manufacturers place the camera behind the screen, just above the middle for this purpose. LCDs are somewhat transparent, and perhaps filters can reverse the colors being displayed in the pixels immediately in front of the camera?

  • What a technical thinking

  • Actually the same technology used for teleprompters would be perfect. This is a nice try but seems awkward. The smaller cameras and tablets have produced several smaller models that work with a smartphone or tablet. Check B&H for current models and pricing, they are a great place to go for all media needs. Once you find the one you like you can shop around to make sure you have the best pricing and shipping options. It works by using a partial mirror placed in front of the camera and letting a screen reflect an image on that mirror, has worked great for news and TV for 20+ years!

  • Great idea!

  • I was just talking to my mom about this, we never make eye contact with our skype convo.

  • Finds girl to chat with. Moves window up 100 pixels for the rest of the conversation.

  • +Guy Kawasaki That price point is WAY too high!

  • +Jeff Schultz So is what I charge for webinars….

  • When just "Hangingout" gets to serious.

  • When just "Hangingout" gets to serious.

  • Wow! I totally need one of those! Brilliant!

  • Wow! I totally need one of those! Brilliant!

  • Neet .where do they sell them?

  • Neet .where do they sell them?

  • Finally!

  • Finally!

  • Very interesting.

  • Very interesting.

  • very nice!

  • very nice!

  • This is one of those chicken and egg products where I don't see this problem existing until the product appeared. Call me a cheap bastard but wouldn't increasing the distance between you and the screen product a similar affect?

  • This is one of those chicken and egg products where I don't see this problem existing until the product appeared. Call me a cheap bastard but wouldn't increasing the distance between you and the screen product a similar affect?

  • OH MY GOD !

  • OH MY GOD !

  • clever

  • clever

  • Happy weekend

  • Happy weekend

  • Interesting tech… Thanks +Guy Kawasaki

  • Interesting tech… Thanks +Guy Kawasaki

  • Those few inches make that much difference? Why not just move the Skype image at the top edge of the screen? It would be below the camera instead of above, but at roughly the same distance. This just doesn't seem necessary based on what I'm seeing; especially when the webcam is built into the bezel and not external and added on (in which case this thing would be useless).

  • Awwwww.

  • Agree to Michael – just move Skype image at the top edge of the screen and you will get the same effect.

  • Useful

  • This device is a effectively a teleprompter; it uses a half-silvered mirror to put the bezel camera behind the other person's image, not just closer to it.

  • Pointless to me.. I Skype or hangout in full screen..

  • Not useful at all in anyway shape or form

  • +Jonathan Buffalohead Have you tried it or are you just expressing your opinion?

  • +Shahul Hameed Akbar When you Skype or Hangout in full screen, you're telling me that the eyes of the person you're talking to is near the camera?

  • +Michael-Rainabba Richardson Look at the picture. Look at the distance from the green dot above to the guy's eyes. Compare that to the distance from the green dot to the guy's eyes in the Skype window behind the gizmo.

    It's about 7 times further.

  • Yes, and 7 microns is 7 times larger than 1 micron. That means nothing without context and your point doesn't provide any. I'm not using the system and only have an image to go by but to me, none of the distances involved appear significant in the context of eye contact. Most people have no idea if your looking at their left or right eye and that distance is on average, 60mm or 2.4in. I suspect that distance vertically is just as insignificant. Again, just an educated guess.

  • Wow. This is awaome

  • no no no… this is good, but #notgreat … they need to fig out how to make a camera work behind the screen, OR, do it with the software.

  • Reading a news

  • hey I just thought about this idea a few days ago..lol

  • $60 for a plastic mirror? Really? It probably cost $5 to produce…

  • Ola

  • I can imagine a DIY version in the near future. Doesn't seem like space age technology

  • Awesome stuff, thanks for sharing Guy!

  • Cool!!

  • Gimmick.

  • So if you want to move the window it seems like you're sol.

  • +Michael-Rainabba Richardson Next time you ask for a raise, look at your boss's chin instead of her/his eyes and let me know if it's effective. :-)

  • $60 for two mirrors? Nope. DIY opportunity calling.

  • +Guy Kawasaki thanks for sharing. This is awesome and when combined with a program that keeps the window on top (built in on Linux, 'always on top' for pc and http://infinite-labs.net/afloat/ for Mac) this tool will be really powerful.

  • +Ron Egatz $60 to produce much better video conferencing and webinars. How long will it take you to buy the mirrors and make the frame (don't forget you need a place to hold a webcam if the built-in one isn't high enough resolution)?

    Let's say it take three hours. Is your time worth more than $20/hour? Only you can decide.

  • Two mirrors, but one is a beam splitting mirror. The camera is directly behind the image of the person you are speaking to, giving that person the impression of direct eye contact. You could DIY this, but not with ordinary mirrors.

  • +Guy Kawasaki Thanks to my intelligence and analytical skills, I don't ask for raises. I demand and receive them ;) Seriously though, you can't compare web chat with real life for a number of reasons. Lack of stereoscopic information and inaccurate scale are huge factors here. I'm questing the usefulness of a product and providing theories and evidence. It seems to me that you're defending it and poorly which would make this a pointless argument rather than a productive discussion. Am I seeing things wrongly? I'll gladly bow out if this isn't a productive discussion.

  • +Scott Atwood Beam splitting? That's not the webcam in the bezel? That would make a fair difference here. Though still not sure it would be substantial, that would change my opinion a bit.

  • For that matter, I'd reverse the configuration and use polarization so the screen showed through from the users perspective but the camera would reflect their image up to the web cam.

  • This looks to be the old tricks of mirrors. Nothing really new. However i think the gadget deserves some praise as no one made any better. On the other hand, could a web cam have a 2 inches screen beside the lens, from which the video is displayed. That would really be something.

  • +Guy Kawasaki Na, I meant the device covers only a small area of the screen so when doing full screen chats this won't work..

  • It is very easy to tell when somebody is not making eye contact with you. Even via webcam

  • When is apple coming out with the camera in the middle of monitor….

  • +Mr. Bruce Arkwright, Jr. Their current products don't? My MBP 15" Retina is setup that way so i'd expect other current products to but then, this is the only piece of Apple hardware I own since it's the only one worth the price to me (and it very much is).

  • Looks great. Really tricky working one to one with client when can't look each other in the eye. Thanks for sharing

  • Looks great. Really tricky working one to one with client when can't look each other in the eye. Thanks for sharing

  • Gooood idea.

  • Gooood idea.

  • Thank you for sharing! +Guy Kawasaki

  • You would have to positron the video PERFECTLY. Pretty annoying that you can't go full screen etc

  • What if my chat window is different?

  • You two have bypassed the point!

  • Good idea

  • Very good idea & interesting teknology

  • Very good idea & interesting teknology

  • Its different

  • Its different

  • Sweet! But the prices are too dam high!

  • thats awesome

  • Does this work as a teleprompter as well?

  • That's very nice! Technology can still blow your mind!

  • Microsoft now owns both Skype and Kinect. They should combine both in a way which uses the depth information of the pixels to render a distorted live camera image which simulates a camera position behind the screen. This could also adapt to window position or fullscreen mode.

  • Interesting concept. My question is how good is the video +Guy Kawasaki that the other person sees? 1 way mirrors typically darken the image – does it look like your webcam is looking through sunglasses?

  • Jim, I don't think the webcam (possibly the little white dot in the picture) is impacted by the periscope, it still "sees" the same thing, the periscope just shifts the user's gaze upwards.

  • I like this

  • Thats cool!

  • Unfortunately does not work on the newer MacBook Air laptop because of the widescreen lens :(

  • […] [h/t Holy Kaw!] […]

  • Sardar singh

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