Microsoft's "holoportation" lets you augment someone else's reality

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A person on the left wearing a HoloLens interacts with a 3D rendering of another person via holoportation on the right(Credit: Microsoft)

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Microsoft's research division has developed a new kind of 3D video capture system called "holoportation" that allows for 3D renderings of people to be virtually transported to any environment in real-time. For Star Trek fans, think of it as the inverse of the "holodeck" featured in the franchise that renders virtual environments around a real person.

The system uses a series of 3D video cameras that capture images of a person from all angles and then seamlessly stitches together a 3D model of the person that can be reconstructed, compressed and transmitted anywhere instantly.

A person wearing an augmented reality headset like Microsoft's HoloLens can see, hear and interact with someone who is being "holoported" from anywhere in the world. To the person wearing the HoloLens, the remote participant would appear as a hologram, giving the illusion of being actually present in the same physical space.

This may seem very similar to hologram technologies that we've seen for years, and it is, but the interesting part here is the ability to interact virtually in real-time and integrate the experience with existing platforms like HoloLens.

Interactions that take place using the holoportation system can also be recorded and played back, either with HoloLens or any other display technology.

In the demonstration video below, research manager Shahram Izadi describes the experience as "almost like walking into a living memory that I can see through another pair of eyes."

In another cool trick, the 3D recording can also be shrunk to a smaller size to become a tabletop hologram of sorts. Check out the full demo below to see how it works.

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