Microsoft Teams will soon let you turn yourself into a 3D avatar without a camera


If you’ve ever wanted to appear like you’re attending a meeting, Microsoft Teams is about to help you out.

According to the Microsoft 365 roadmap, the company plans to roll out 3D avatars to Microsoft Teams in May of this year. What’s interesting about the avatars in Teams is that users will be able to use them, even if their camera is turned off. The avatar will emote based on your voice alone, so users who don’t want to be on camera (and their company is cool with that) can still have a fully animated avatar bopping around the meeting while the user is simply speaking.

Avatars for Microsoft Teams gives you that much-needed camera break, while still allowing you to collaborate effectively. You can add a new layer of choice to your meetings and represent yourself the way you want with customizable avatars and reactions.

In an interview with The Verge back in 2021, Katie Kelly, principal product manager for Microsoft Mesh, described what that experience would be like:

“It’s not binary, so I can choose how I want to show up, whether it’s video or an avatar, and there’s a variety of customized options to choose how you want to be present in a meeting. We are able to interpret your vocal cues to animate that avatar, so it does feel present and it does feel like it’s there with you.”

After bringing the avatars to Microsoft Teams, the company also plans to launch a Teams app on the Meta Quest headset where users will also be able to use them. It’s currently unclear when that app or avatar experience for it will launch.

While Microsoft plans to deepen its relationship with Meta’s Quest headset, it’s a tricky time for the social media giant. Today’s news comes on the same day that Meta announced more layoffs that will impact around 10,000 employees. To try and boost sales of its VR headset, Meta also recently cut the price of the Meta Quest Pro and Meta Quest 2.

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