Holograms in communications, perhaps not as far away as you might have thought

We find out from Digital Trends that at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems conference in Montreal this week, the researchers at Queen’s University in Canada unveiled a hologram system.

The TeleHuman 2 may be the “first truly holographic video conferencing system.” It works through a system of depth cameras that capture a 3D version of a person, combined with a set of projectors at the other end. The projectors are positioned in a cylindrical tube or pod, and they recreate the 3D image in it.

 

Work in progress

The hologram generated by the TeleHuman 2 flutters and glitters, much like when the electricity cuts off holographic communications in science-fiction movies. As the team admits, there is still a lot to be perfected.

*OK, you may say, but what about TeleHuman 1? The first version of the system featured in the emerging technology section of some online media websites in 2012. Here it is, as presented by the same Digital Trends publication. The project included other potential uses, as well as a cost estimate for this technology.

The same developer – the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University in Ontario now works on TeleHuman 2. Their goal is to allow remote interlocutors to face each other “with a fidelity that, at least when it comes to angular accuracy judgments, cannot be distinguished from reality. No helmets or glasses required, and without obscuring parts of the face.”

The targeted audience – of course, the business audience. Upgrading video-conferences to holographic conferences has been yet another decade-old dream, waiting for advanced technology to make it possible.

 

 What would holograms bring into modern communications?

Firstly, compared to Virtual Reality (VR), holograms come without the annoying gear and the weird isolation needed to separate the virtual images from the surrounding real environment. One should be able to watch an image as if it spatially exists in all its dimensions, in the setting of the receiver’s real environment.

Secondly, holograms compare to the current means of business (and personal) video communications. Currently only the face or the upper part of the interlocutor is visible, and picking up on body language signs is difficult, as well as confusing – says the Canadian Team. As a future goal, they want to want “to expand the TeleHuman 2 to encompass an entire room while cutting its cost to make it more viable”.

We leave it to you to imagine how meetings would look like when using this technology. Or to rememorize movie images – since this technology was featured in many series and films.