While teleportation is still in the realm of science fiction, Microsoft has introduced “holoportation” – a 3D, real-time hologram of someone who is a world away, but still interacts with you.
It’s a newly revealed project coming out of Microsoft Research’s Interactive 3D Technologies team and using HoloLens, the company’s augmented reality headset.
It also has a special camera rig setup to allow you to see, hear and interact with real-time holograms of “remote participants” in 3D, as if they are actually in the same room with you.
Microsoft hasn’t quite detailed what the camera rig requires, however it is able to capture how a person is moving around in their environment. This allows a HoloLens user to see an augmented real-time capture of that person in their own environment.
Of course, it doesn’t provide the sense of smell or physical touch, and due to current HoloLens technology, the hologram of the other person will appear in the middle of your field of view. That means it may look like they are floating or standing inside your couch or table.
Still, aside from needing a special camera rig, what’s been shown of the technology is impressive. It gives us a glimpse of how the way we communicate could evolve from 2D video calls like FaceTime.
Alex Kipman, head of the HoloLens project, showed holoporation technology during a TED talk earlier this month, and had NASA scientist Jeff Norris join him on stage via holoportation. This allowed Norris to talk to the audience about how NASA is applying the HoloLens to research.
The video, which you can see here, is mind blowing to watch, but it should be noted that the HoloLens is still in development stages (the dev kit alone right now costs $3,000).
And along with the required camera rig, it’s probably safe to say that holoportation is still a few years away or may never see a commercial release at all.