February 01, 2023

Is Logitech's Project Ghost the new Telepresence?

Photo by Drew Tilk on Unsplash

On January 31st at ISE2023, Logitech publicly introduced Project Ghost, an integrated video conferencing system utilizing Steelcase furniture. This system utilizes Pepper's Ghost (beam splitting) putting a camera behind a semi-transparent screen to achieve eye contact with a reflected image. Read on for more information about Project Ghost.

Pepper's Ghost technique has been around since the mid 1800's. Beam splitting / Pepper's Ghost has been used in the video conferencing industry for well over 20 years now. Both DVEHolographics, formerly known as DVE Telepresence and TelePresenceTech have been utilizing beam splitting technologies since the late 1990's as a method to have excellent eye contact for point to point video meetings.

Logitech's Project Ghost is now the latest entry of solutions to achieve eye contact in meeting using similar techniques of the companies listed above. While some may think this product is similar to Google's Project Starline (as I blogged about here), these are two differently engineered systems to achieve the same sort of result - which is eye contact in a point to point meeting. Starline is intended for one person at each point, whereas Project Ghost may be capable of hosting two participants per suite.

Marrying furniture to technology has strengths and weaknesses. The primary strength is that organizations could (or may be able to if it becomes productized) purchase one SKU that includes everything needed for a video meeting. Another strength can be that since it's an integrated set of products, that it will look good and work good without a cobbled set of disparate technologies and horrid cable management. Disadvantages include "whose budget does this come from - IT or Facilities?", and technology refreshing far sooner than furniture.

Any product utilizing a beam splitter approach needs to be aware of a few things. Lighting must be strictly controlled where the camera is located, or else you will see it through the screen and not be able to see the remote attendee very well. Logitech appears to address this by the camera being in an enclosed cabinet. Next, you should understand the footprint the screen system will take up. The screen will be slanted at a 45 degree angle with the remote attendee's image being face up on a display so it can reflect off the screen to the user. This takes a lot of floor space and the bigger the perceived display is, the bigger the footprint. The display will get dusty too. Do not expect an image as good as that of a modern monitor. Since the image is reflected off a beam splitter, you're going to lose a large amount of light. Therefore, the entire lighting system needs controlled (where the camera is located, ambient light and facial lighting) and you can't expect to pop a beam splitter into a well lit room and have a bright image.

Bryan's Take

While I appreciate most products that Logitech has introduced over the past couple of years, "Project Ghost" is a head scratcher. The goal of Telepresence is attempting to recreate a face to face meeting and, in every form, falls apart as soon as you add a third site, or sometimes even a second person at one site depending on camera location. The wonders of eye contact, which is the primary selling point, is immediately removed by adding a third point - unless the system introduces multiple cameras and thus starts to become unwieldy in technology and cost. When telepresence was first introduced into the market, Zoom (for example) didn't exist and video conferencing was an expensive Fortune 500 endeavor exclusively. Fast forward 20 years and nearly everyone has the ability to have high quality video meetings from their desk. In addition, most video meetings are either multi-point or include content sharing. Content shared on a beam splitter may be difficult to read due to light loss and multi-point breaks the eye contact experience. Project Ghost will be an expensive system and honestly a waste of money if not used strictly for point to point meetings. Anyone with a web camera and a large enough monitor can get a single participant relatively life size on-screen with good eye contact for an absolute fraction of what this may cost. 

For further reading, please see The Verge's story HERE.

Note that this article was based on third party information and not on a demo or first hand testing by Bryan or the UCTestLab.

About the author

Bryan Hellard has been in the video conferencing industry for over 23 years and has always been a proponent of telepresence, imaging and display technologies. He began his career as a developer of room-based telepresence products including those using beam splitters, rear projection and traditional displays. He has consulted with many of the top vendors in the telepresence genre providing insight, R&D and product design services.


  1. Bryan I have been watching this space and loved the beam splitting tech from DVE but it has always been expensive and required dedicated space. The goal of bringing this to smaller spaces and using more affordable methods sounds good but it is unfortunate it breaks down so quickly as you add users. My experience is that it is a cool solution to show and demo, but mass adoption just doesn't seem likely in particular given most folks are single users at a desk and a $99 webcam will do a good job (or a great job for a few hundred more). I wonder though if the idea is to get buzz/eyeballs more then make a mass market product?

    1. I'm not sure this will ever be mass produced and you're right it's probably about getting eyeballs on what Steelcase and Logitech "can" do as a concept. However, this particular concept is a very outdated idea.