NUNA™, Real contact in video communication

Stand-alone communication unit with broadcast quality video, professional lighting, perfect audio experience and robotized eye-follow camera.

As a central part of the research project Embodied People in Disembodied Environments, a unique and promising prototype is being built in Umeå. All with the aim of gaining knowledge about shortening the social distance online by enhancing psychological touch. In the pring of 2021 the first studies of true eye-contact in video communication will be conducted in Umeå, with support from the Åke Wiberg Foundation.

From our latest study. ”Even though the technical differense is quite small, the experienced difference of true eye contact is immediate and very important.”

Based on contemporary social neuroscience and new technological solutions, The NUNA setup is ready to use and the experience is immediate and obvious for anyone hos test it. ”The other” is experienced as a subject you talk WITH, a person, and not an object you talk TO

The ability to look into each other’s eyes is much more than an emotional feature, it is a key in mutual regulation of emotional nearness and communication of what one means with the words that are being used. This is a central part of shaping collaboration and ”we-ness”, the visual part of the essential pre-verbal multi-brain system for human collaboration, human capacity for e.g. intersubjectivity, shared intentionality and participatory sensemaking. A system that is the basis for both individual and relational development and is recognized in both social neuroscience and evolutionary theory.

Unfortunately tools for video-conversations has not taken this fact in regard, as the off-centered camera hinders eye-contact, and reports on the specific “unreal” experiences and lack of ”we-ness” in e.g. clinical video consultations are well known.

NUNA is a easy-to-use a setup primarily for professional use. Psychologists, medical professionals, in corportate business and other situations where real conversations are needed.

NUNA works as a video equipped computer screen with additional software. A setup that will make you conversation partner feel that the conversation is much more real and natural, as you will look directly inte the camera when you look at the eyes of your conversation partner. This is supported as the Nuna has a built in high resolution camera which mechanically follows the eyes of the conversation partner

Even more drastic is the result of a 2x setup, which allows for true mutual eye contact, the basis of human relational behavior. If ”being seen directly in the eyes” is the psychological equivalent to being touched, then allowing for mutual eye-contact is equivalent to allowing to hold hands.

With one setup, the partner will experience up to 80% of the result, but not the person who sits with Nuna Link, a fact that makes it suitable for purposes where only one of the two conversation partners is a professional user and the other is the patient, client or customer.

NUNA also takes social neuroscience into account to non-postprocessed natural experience as it allows for natural size of the face (corresponding to approximately 1 1,5 meters from you, natural sound of the voice and professional selfadjusting lighting.

NUNA will also be commercialized in a larger setup for academic use in research, including extra support on software designed for precision manipulation of camera position skeweness, audio delay, eye movement camera, lighting and headsize. Including software for preprogramming exmerimental manipulations and gathering informed consent, self report data and other measures of interest.

NUNA is a result of the academic need for for studies based on theoretical contemporary premises of social neuroscience. Building the first wood-and-glue Teleprompter version led to a clear need of another technical solution. Pilot qualitative data is very promising, and quantitative data is also pointing in the right directtion. Extensive research is already taking place.

Disclaimer: This descripion concerns ”two-person conversations” (so called ”dyads”). The eventual use in virtual group meetings is being discussed. Group conversations will require much more complicated technical development, and probably more software-focused solutions as showing who one looks at, the ability to gradually enter a room and to quickly come back and say what you forgot to say. Research on this topic is being intitatied in a cross-scientific Digsocial Needs-group at Umeå Universty together with Umeå Holding and the Åke Wiberg foundation.