Hologram technology, the like seen in countless science fiction films and TV shows, could soon become more than a reality – but positively commonplace.
A video went viral in recent weeks showing David Nussbaum, boss of US holograms firm Portl, showcasing the technology that makes people appear in hologram form in such a way that it becomes difficult to determine which one is real and which one the avatar. In the video, Nussbaum simply walks in front of a camera, then his exact likeness in hologram is displayed, life-size, in a box to his side. Everything Nussbaum says or does is reflected in his holographic double.
Far from being a glimpse into some distant future, however, this technology is already out there – and is being purchased by companies at such a rate that Nussbaum has admitted: “we can’t make them fast enough”.
The technology itself is housed within an 8ft box with a glass front – kit which comes in at around £45,000. The price tag hasn’t put businesses off, though, with the likes of Netflix and T-Mobile already having shown an interest.
It’s not just the biggest, richest companies that could benefit from this technology, though, as Nussbaum is keen to offer rental options to open Portl up to all.
Technology such as this will have various practical benefits if, or indeed when, it becomes commonplace. It’s expected to first be used by engineers or developers, who would be able to see or even interact with systems miles away much more easily than ever before. Then it’d open up to more of a business communications market, being used for conferences or calls across the miles.
“In a few years’ time this is going to become a regular way of communicating between offices,” Nussbaum predicted.
Investor Tim Draper (who also got in with Skype and Tesla during their early days) was more strident still. He told BBC News that Portl technology would soon do away with today’s video information screens. “We’ll replace every single digital display kiosk in every mall, in every lobby, in no time,” he said. “This will be the new way that businesses will want to present their content, whether live or recorded.”