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Why this futuristic video-calling system may already be obsolete

Why this futuristic video-calling system may already be obsolete

Watch any movie set in the future, even the near-future, and you'll see video phones in every house. Whether it's a large screen like a TV, a pop-up screen from a desk or a smaller unit like a wall intercom, a video phone signals a high-tech society.

So it's odd that with all the technology at our disposal, we don't really have standalone video phones. Sure it's been tried from companies as large as Microsoft and Cisco, but for some reason it's never caught on. Now there's a new company that's taking another shot at it, and it thinks it has the winning formula.

The company is called Nucleus and it's offering a sleek tablet-like gadget, also called the Nucleus, with a built-in camera and an 8-inch touch screen. Ideally, every extended family member will have one in their home for simple access. You can even have multiple ones in the home and use them like a video intercom system.

To make a call, you simply select the person you want to talk to, or ask tell it who to call using natural voice commands. Not only is it designed to be simple enough for anyone to use, the system can start a connection in just 200 milliseconds. That's about two blinks of an eye, or fast enough to qualify as "instantly."

Here it is in action:

Nucleus has also thrown in some other handy features like a camera that can swivel, so you can point it at a wall when you aren't using it. There's also an auto-answer system so units in a bedroom or other intimate rooms won't pick up automatically.

Nucleus is also integrating with smart home systems to act as a controller, has an unnamed streaming service on board to handle calls outside the home, and it can stream to an iOS or Android app when someone is on the go. It sounds like the futuristic video gadget we've been missing. But is it?

Next page: Are we already too far in the future for "futuristic"?
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