Video chat services like Skype and Apple's FaceTime elevate the regular old phone call, keeping us a bit more connected to those we love. But wouldn't it be great to actually see your overseas relatives, in life-size, 3-D, holographic form beamed right into your living room?
It sounds pie-in-the-sky, but hologram technology has been advancing rapidly in recent years. Researchers are coupling those technological advances with Microsoft's Kinect motion-sensing system to create hologram chat experiments.
The Human Media Lab at Canada's Queen's University is developing a holographic chat called "TeleHuman," which uses Kinect sensors, a 3-D projector, and cylindrical displays. Carnegie Mellon-backed upstart RGBD Toolkit is experimenting with Kinect-DSLR camera combinations.
Right now those multi-device solutions are hack-y and experimental, but they're paving the way for one-click holographic calls. Get ready for your mother-in-law to beam on over whenever she likes. - JP
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