How many times did you think “ah, if only I had teleportation!”? Many, isn’t it true? And now, even if it isn’t exactly what you were asking for, in a certain manner the world of augmented reality and avant-garde technology are here to help: yes, because during last days we started to hear talking about “holoportation”.
Do you remember the holographic messages from Star Wars? Well, the result is similar to that: thanks to Microsoft HoloLens, in fact, it will be possible to chat with someone as if he was physically in the same room with us thanks to this kind of messages. If this isn’t enough, the messages can be seen again, exactly how we can read again a e-mail.
The demonstration of this new technology is showed in a video, in which we can see the Microsoft Research developer Shahram Izadi recorded during a live conversation at distance with a colleague and his 4 years old daughter: since Izadi is wearing a HoloLens headset, the two are right in front of his eyes, as they were in the same room.
The conversation is recorded and, as we said earlier, can be then played again, moving forward, changing in the while the size of the interlocutors.
How does this work? Both Izadi and his interlocutors are surrounded by a system of special cameras using 3D recording technology; then the data coming from the different cameras are fused together creating a perfect 3D hologram, that is paired with a HoloLens tracking system, which enables the ‘holoportation.’
‘Imagine being able to virtually teleport from one space to another in real time,’ Izadi says in the video. And, even knowing all this is not physically happening, to see these images is surprising anyway. This technology will be a great step ahead to bring back together families or friends who are apart: if we won’t be able to hold them, it will be nice to have them at least in the same room.
Microsoft HoloLens’ developer version will be delivered soon: the first lucky ones that paid $3000 will start to receive the new headset from March 30th.
While waiting for the shipping, Microsoft is showing to the future developers the different possible uses of the augmented reality headset; one of these surprised many: it’s called Actiongram and it’s an app for HoloLens that makes possible to film ourselves or other people while interacting in video with holograms.
The idea is nice, but don’t expect special effects as in the cinema though: Microsoft wanted just to offer to the developers who don’t have any CGI or animation skills the possibility to have some fun shooting short videos in which they can insert special holograms previously created by the producers of the app.
“In order to provide great holographic content to help inspire creators, we built a holographic studio where many different actors, characters, objects, and creatures can be captured as holograms,” Microsoft wrote in a blog post previewing the app. “Actiongram is an app that allows people to place this rich holographic content into their real world environment, and record a mixed reality capture (MRC) video.”
Together with the announcement, the company released also an explanatory video that shows some examples of possible use of the app, but also how easy it is to set a video: in pure Microsoft style, an holographic menu appears in front of the users’ eyes, overlapped to the view thank to HoloLens; from here it will be possible to choose the hologram to insert in the scene.
Which subjects are available? There’s actually a lot of choice: from the dinosaur to the astronaut, we can’t wait to try them all!
This is Microsoft’s official video:
When we say augmented reality and holograms, the first sense that comes to mind is sight; after all, augmented reality is that technology that lets us add invisible data and information superimposing them on the reality we can see. This was true until the University of Tokyo decided to change this concept: what if you could actually touch augmented reality?
It seems impossible, but it isn’t: some Japanese haptic researchers from the University of Tokyo’s Department of Complexity Science and Engineering (DCSE) are working on a project called Haptoclone that will make possible to make holograms sensitive to the touch of our hands or other objects, as if they weren’t simple images.
Practically, Haptoclone uses a method called “telehaptic“, through which the image of an object inserted in a device can be sent to another device of the same type, creating the illusion of touching the hologram you can see. The devices are two box-like contraptions, each lined with four ultrasound arrays that emit ultrasonic radiation pressure. In a box there’s a Kinect sensor to capture movement, in the other one the ultrasound arrays project the image exactly in the same position and make it haptic.
“It would be great to allow people in different locations to communicate with one another while experiencing a sense of touch.”, said Yasutoshi Makino, researcher.
For the moment, anyway, the scientists admit that the images could be just slightly perceived, but it is for a safety motivation: as Hiroyuki Shinoda, a professor at University of Tokyo, explains, “The [level] of ultrasound we’re currently using is very safe, but if it’s too strong, ultrasound can damage the insides of the human body such as the nerves and other tissues. We have to consider the limitations.”
It’s August, most of us are in holidays and have some more available time than usual: while waiting to finally get in our hands a virtual reality or augmented reality headset, why don’t we try having fun with our smartphone? From videogames to furnishing, to makeup, there are many apps to download for trying augmented reality on your mobile devices, e.g. Experenti’s one, that you can download for free for Android and iOS and test with our example tags.
Now you can also have fun transforming your mobile device in a hologram projector thanks to the video tutorial created by Mrwhosetheboss, that became viral in no time.
The materials needed are pretty common and it’s very easy to build.
You will need:
– graph paper
– cd case
Follow the video to:
– draw and cut a trapezoid on the graph paper
– use the shape to draw the trapezoid on the case
– create four of these shapes and tape them together to build a lens
Now you just have to go to the video-demo link in the description of the tutorial, put the lens on your smartphone’s screen and prepare to be surprised!
It seems that finally we have the device that every Google Glass fan wanted, but it wasn’t Google creating it: some research scientists at the National Physical Laboratory in the U.K. in collaboration with manufacturer Colour Holographic did, and the concept looks awesome.
Like it is for Google Glass, this device clips on a side of the wearer’s glasses and the creators claim that it suits to be used by everyone, from surgeons to firefighters, helping men to become enhanced in any profession they do through augmented reality.
There are anyway some big differences between this wearable and the Big G product, the most important of which is the fact that with this prototype you don’t have to look up to see the screen:
“Normally when we want to see things from our phones or our computers, we need a screen to look at. But this way, we could do away with a screen and just have the image projected directly into our glasses and into our eye,” said John Nunn, one of the research scientists that are working on this project in an interview with Motherboard.
In fact, the device overlays transparent images over what the wearer is already seeing, with a technology based on holograms. Think about how much this could be useful for enhancing many aspects of our lives, from the most common to the special ones; Manuel Ulibarrena, R&D Manager at Colour Holographic, said, “If you’re walking down the street, instead of looking at your mobile you can see a transparent map of where you are going with arrows and directions showing where you want to go.”
The NPL’s prototype comprises a micro-display, a lens, a glass plate and holographic glass slitters inside each end of the glass plate. As the user wears the device, a hologram bends the red, green and blue parts of light by 90 degrees which causes the light to reflect inside the glass and to travel over the wearer’s eye. Another hologram then bends the light again so that it is visible to the human eye.
For now, as we said, it is just a prototype, but soon it could become the headset we were all waiting for.