Holoportation is a new technology that Microsoft is still developing that leverages big improvements in Augmented and Virtual Reality technologies to create real time 3D “holograms” wherever we want, just wearing a proper AR/VR device.
The core of this system is the real time 3D recording technology that allows an accurate representation of 3D objects. The created data stream is then compressed and sent to a remote device that recreates the images. Now, the user, making use of the device, that for example can be the HoloLens, will see the “hologram” of the person that can be wherever in the world.
The 3D model is created thanks to a set of cameras capturing the scene from different points. At least two of them are needed to recreate a stereo 3D real-time image but, with more cameras the quality grows. Each camera has a HoloLens tracking system attached that allows to track movement of the filmed model.
Recently this system has been brought to mobile scenario, as a car, to demonstrate the wide applicability of the technology. It has been possible thanks to a wise reduction of the needed bandwidth that makes the images available with a Wi-Fi connection. Movement limitations imposed by the Wi-Fi connection and the size of the needed instrumentation don’t allow a full portability of this platform. Next step to really make the system portable will be to make the service available throw cellular data and make all needed tools to film and transmit the model smaller.
On the other hand, the HoloLens is a perfect device to enjoy this application given the small size that facilitates the portability and the possibility to use them without any wire connection needed, making the user free to move and creating a very realistic interaction with the “holoported” person.
This technology is great to make communicate people that are physically very far as if they are in the same room. Adding a microphone and some speakers the user can enjoy a face to face conversation with whoever he wants.
Furthermore this technology can be improved adding the possibility to add several people in the same conversation recreating a sort of realistic meeting although participants are very far one from another.
It can be added as a feature to social networks like Facebook. It would be great if people belonging to same groups could meet using Holoportation, experiencing a true conversation that is for sure a more immersive and involving experience than a classic video chat.
Moreover, the possibility for a user to record the conversation make it possible to relive a moment whenever he wants. This feature can also be used to film general important events that a person may want to make other people see after a certain period making it as close as possible at experiencing the event live.
The main drawback of Holoportation is probably that to make experience realistic the room where the two people are should be very similar or at least have the same kind of furniture and objects inside otherwise when a person interact with the environment the other one will see only a person behaving weirdly.