Heard of "virtual meetings"? With a new drone with a projector, this will soon be possible. US tech giant Google has been granted a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for an "unmanned aerial vehicle for collaboration" called mobile telepresence system.
The objective of a telepresence system is to present interactive video and audio between users in geographically-dispersed locations.
"Many drones come with cameras but Google thinks a drone with a projector could be the answer to mobile telepresence conferencing," technology website zdnet.com reported on Friday.
Google thinks that its unmanned drone could provide significant improvements in speed, maneuverability, energy consumption and facilitate access to cramped spaces.
For stability reasons, Google's quadcopter design is shaped like the letter 'H' with a propeller at the ends of each of the longer strokes, the report said.
In one embodiment, a screen dangles off the front end of the drone while a projector perches at the rear of the vehicle.
The display area of the screen is being described as semi-translucent so that images projected from the rear can be viewed from the front-facing surface of the screen.
"The smartphone may receive images from the user at the remote location, and may project the received images through a projector included with the smartphone," the report added.
The setup could use two mirrors where one bounces an image from the phone to a screen, and a second is used to capture an image from a room and reflect that to the camera of a smartphone.
Telepresence systems sold by companies like HP and Cisco may offer a virtual meeting space but the right equipment needs to be at both ends usually at a fixed location, noted Google.
According to Google, it can solve this with the help of drones equipped with everything that a telepresence system features, including cameras, microphones, projectors, speakers and a display.