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REEL TO REAL ► Holographic TeleHuman Tech Could be Used for Video Calls Within 5 Years

The Gadget Helpline‘s REEL TO REAL is a regular feature to the blog, aimed at tech and film fanatics, which will reveal how the sci-fi and futuristic gadgets we see on screen in movies and television are making their way into real-life. Take a seat, grab your popcorn and enjoy the show!

Last week it was heartbreakingly disproved that 2Pac’s Coachella performance from beyond the grave was not the stuff of Star Wars and the deceased rapper actually appeared on an elaborate set-up of screens and projector to trick us naïve fans into believing the resurrection was an incredible 3D hologram. This was not the case, but this illusion has not disillusioned the ambitions of a university in Canada who are working on a 3D holographic video call gadget called “TeleHuman”.

Microsoft’s Kinect motion capturing system is once again taken away from its traditional function as a plaything for Xbox 360 and adds some innovative involvement to the TeleHuman device, which is being developed by the Human Media Lab of the Queen’s University. Six of the gaming gadgets are attached to the top of a cylindrical receiving booth aimed down at the “caller”. The Kinect sensors record a full body length 360 degree view of their subject which is sent to and projected on the inside of the call recipient’s cylinder, reflected off a surface like in the 2Pac set, creating a 3D image of the “caller”. This works both ways and caller and recipient can wander around the cylinder booth and see the front, back and sides of the other person in a full 3D.

Again this isn’t quite Star Wars, but we can’t help but be reminded of Zordon from the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers when we see this!

The tech being developed here is promising and the university believes that within five years we could be using TeleHuman for our Skype and video calling. But the booth won’t be cheap – you’re currently looking at $5000 for each cylindrical projector pod. For $10,000 that’s going to be a costly call between two people!

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