"It's an emotional and physical link between us," says Hewlett-Packard research scientist Mark Gorzynski, shaking his head at the thought-which I know because I can see him doing it on the high-definition video screen in front of me. I'm at HP Labs in Palo Alto, California; Gorzynski is in Corvallis, Oregon. But we're "together" in HP's Halo Collaboration Studio, a setup the company introduced a year ago. (Cisco debuted a competing system last month.) Each Halo room is, in effect, half of a beige conference room, linked to any other identical-looking Halo room by four 60-inch plasma screens, an echo-free audio system, and a proprietary, low-latency, superfast data network. The sound is good enough to have multiple simultaneous conversations across the table, and I repeatedly forget that there's a lot more than a table between us. HP has installed 75 Halo rooms around the world: an early one for Jerry Seinfeld, who is producing his new animated movie from a Halo room in his New York office linked to Dreamworks's California studio, and the rest mainly for pharmaceutical and financial-services companies, which must constantly communicate with a far-flung sales force.