It’s one of the most recognizable scenes in sci-fi movie history, heck maybe movie history altogether. Luke Skywalker, joined by C3P0 and Obi-Wan Kenobi, watch a hologram being displayed by R2D2. ‘Help Me Obi-Wan Kenobi, You’re My Only Hope,’ Princess Leia pleads with the Jedi Knight. It’s this sort of science fiction technology that has inspired a team over at Microsoft to develop their own hologram technology.
The call it Holoportation, and while it’s not as refined as what we are used to seeing in science fiction movies, it’s very clearly a step in that direction. Utilizing an array of 3D cameras and Microsoft’s Hololens, the Microsoft team developed a system where two people wearing Hololens headsets could interact with each other in each others space, without being in the same location.
Funny enough, the idea was born out of a case of homesickness, and not an all day binge on Star Wars. Shahram Izadi is the man you see in the demo above, and he also happens to be the project lead for the Holoportation development team. As part of his position at Microsoft, he had to leave his home in the UK and spend years at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
“We have two young children, and there was really this sense of not really being able to communicate as effectively as we would have liked,” Izadi tells Wired.com. “Tools such as video conferencing, phone calls, are just not engaging enough for young children. It’s just not the same as physically being there.”
So his team set out to develop a communication method that could, in many ways, provide that engagement and come as close to possible to being there – without actually being there. Hence, Holoportation was born.
This is something straight out of Star Wars, but its real life, and its possible with today’s technology. It’s only a matter of time now until this technology is improved enough to the point that there is almost no difference between what we saw on those science fiction shows and what our technology is capable of.
You can find out more information about this new Holoportation technology by visiting the Microsoft team page for the project. It’s a really interesting project that has the potential to change the way that we communicate over long distances in a huge way. I am very interested to see where this technology goes from here.
Now, when can I get one of these installed in my house?