Virtual reality tech lets you inhabit computer-generated worlds. But now a new system from Microsoft lets computer-generated people inhabit your world.
The Holoportation app unveiled this week uses specialized 3-D cameras to capture the surrounding environment and then reconstruct it in a VR headset. When you wear the headset, you see the virtually projected people (and objects) as if they are in the same room with you. And the people can see you.
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Such a system could fundamentally change the way people communicate in the future. Instead of talking into a phone or into a computer screen, you could actually talk to family, friends or even business associates as if they were right next to you.
In the video below, Shahram Izadi, partner research manager at Microsoft explains how the system works.
Izadi's colleague named Sergio "teleports" into the space and his avatar is able to interact with Izadi - even give him a high five.
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Izadi also demonstrates how the system could be used to interact with a family member who might be thousands of miles away. Imagine a father going on a business trip being able to say goodnight to his daughter each evening.
Not only does the Holoportation system work in real time, but it can also be played back and could work as a kind of memory of the interaction.
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This capability reminds me of an episode of Black Mirror called The Entire History of You, which shows people living with a computerized "grain" implanted in their skulls. The grain records everything a person says or does and can be stored and played back on a display for anyone to watch.
To see how the Holoportation works, watch the video below.