Microsoft is working on adding 3D virtual avatars and environments to its “Mesh” platform that will allow people to meet in virtual space with or without virtual reality as it works towards the “metaverse.”

The 3D avatars will be able to perform various actions, including representing a person in a remote Teams meeting in cases where they do not want to turn on their webcam.

Avatars will appear on a normal two-dimensional computer screen, animate the movement of a mouth when a microphone picks up the talking user, and much more. Organizations will be able to create their own 3D spaces for meetings according to their own designs, a step that will also work in 2D or 3D.

As Microsoft develops these innovative designs, it is trying to reduce its reliance on VR and AR, although the company will allow those with VR or AR headsets to move around in virtual environments with the technology.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said of the new systems at Microsoft’s Ignite event: “What’s most important is that we are able to bring our humanity with us, and choose how we want to experience the world. The metaverse is not just transforming how we see the world, it’s changing how all of us actively participate in it.”