Digital Domain's Tupac hologram was cool, but talking to your friends Star Wars style would be cooler.
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