The University of Arizona recently announced that a team of researchers developed a new type of holographic telepresence that allows the projections of a “three-dimensional moving image without the need for special eyewear such as 3D glasses or other auxiliary devices.”
They compare the technology to the 3D hologram images of Princess Leia in the Star Wars films. Remember the scene where R2D2 projects a 3D image of the troubled princess reaching out for help to Luke Skywalker?
The team of researchers apparently developed a screen made from a novel photorefractive material that is capable of refreshing holograms every two seconds. This makes it the first to achieve a speed that can be described as quasi-real-time, according to Pierre-Alexandre Blanche, an assistant research professor in the UA College of Optical Sciences. (For more details, check out the Nature cover story on the technology and this UA video.)
The UA announcement states that the technology is likely to take applications ranging from telemedicine, advertising, updatable 3D maps and entertainment. But imagine for a moment what type of implications this could have on Workshifting.
With this type of holographic technology, you could beam yourself to a conference room in Denver with an array of web cams on your end and a 3D display using a laser system on the other end. The camera would capture several different perspectives of you talking, while a computer processes them into a cohesive image on the other end.
While the team of researchers concedes that they still have a lot of development work ahead of them, the idea of holographic Workshifting is pretty cool.
Remote presentations would become much more impressive and impactful – instead of simply being a voice on the phone or computer screen, you’d actually be there…in the room…well, sort of.
But it’s kind of freaky, too. You’ll be able to see the person in front of you – life size, I presume. But you still won’t be able to interact with them like you would in real life. And I can only imagine the cables and cameras and screens that will be needed to make these types of projections happen. I chuckle when I think of me and my colleagues trying to figure out how to make something like this work.
What do you guys think? Can you imagine becoming a holographic Workshifter?
Photo Credit: philmabs