A certain division of Microsoft Research lab, namely Interactive 3D Technologies (I3D) is bent upon refining communication over long distance, and the progress made so far can be seen in the form of a demonstrable holoportation system. Yet this revolutionary breakthrough in technology is being shrugged off as ordinary instead of getting hailed as a major leap towards futuristic communication system – an outrageously underwhelming and completely uncalled for reaction to say the least!
What is Holoportation?
For those of you who haven’t been keeping themselves up-to-date with the goings-on in the technology world, holoportation is basically a streaming 3D capture technology that uses a series of 3D cameras placed strategically around the room to capture shapes and movements of people and objects, use the data to construct a 3D model, add audio to it, compress it from gigabytes to megabytes, transmit it to a receiving augmented reality headset such as the extremely expensive HoloLens (and perhaps Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and other VR devices in the future) at a remote location, and then project an interactive hologram there. This streaming hologram can be recorded, rerun, and even shrunk in size.
A Solution to Long Distance Communications
Project lead Shahram Izadi hasn’t shied away from admitting that this challenge was undertaken to resolve a problem that has been affecting the personal as well as professional lives of millions of people around the globe – communication.
“We have two young children, and there was really this sense of not really being able to communicate as effectively as we would have liked,” Izadi explained. “Tools such as video conferencing, phone calls, are just not engaging enough for young children. It’s just not the same as physically being there.”
From the demo of holoportation, it is evident that Izadi and his team have come extremely close to what they’re trying to achieve. While far from perfect, the hologram created at a remote location and the level of interactivity can only be described as impressive. Of course, a lot of work still needs to be done, especially on the video quality and latency, but there’s hardly any reason to think that the people at Microsoft Research aren’t looking into it already.
The Criticism on Holoportation
Now the people who have chosen to walk the path of criticism rather than creation are undermining the work that has been done so far on holoportation. In the opinion of some, it is hardly a step up from Skype as kids are unlikely to find this any more engaging than a camera and a flat screen. Others have directed their wrath to the requirement of wearing a ‘clunky’ augmented reality headset for communication.
Apparently, these critics are blinded by their addiction to hate everything that their imagination is unable to comprehend. Their first criticism is mainly based on holograms not touching HD video quality. They completely refuse to acknowledge the challenge that Izadi and other researchers are currently wrestling with, i.e. compressing huge amounts of data and transmitting it in half of a second (33 milliseconds). The existing streaming video codecs aren’t being much help in this case either.
Yes, the projected hologram needs work, but what about the progress that has already been made? Is that all going to get ignored just because the holograms are not in high-definition yet? And oh, those undermining holoportation due to requirement of augmented reality headsets probably haven’t heard of corneal implants and biomechanical devices.
I have absolute no doubts regarding holoportation’s potential to revolutionize the whole communication system and make distances even more insignificant than they are in today’s day and age.
As for the haters, I just have one thing to say – grow up!