Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Live Holographic Presentation

Science fiction is becoming fact. There are many "futuristic" technologies that are going to come on line in the next 25 years - and now we have another example of a holographic presence at a conference from a great distance. The conference presenter was slightly flat, a touch blurry and a smidge taller than reality but Telstra chief technology officer Dr Hugh Bradlow made a huge impression on his Adelaide audience when, in an Australian first, Dr Bradlow's life-sized, real-time hologram walked, talked and interacted with business executives at an Adelaide conference while he stood in front of cameras in Telstra's Melbourne office.

Cameras and microphones in Adelaide allowed Dr Bradlow to see and hear his subjects from 725 kms away as his audience watched his high definition image projected onto a transparent screen or "foil".

The technology created by British company Musion Eyeliner has already enabled former US vice president Al Gore to speak to the Live Earth concert's London audience from Tokyo and retailer Target to host a model-less virtual fashion show in New York last year. UK band Gorillaz has also used Musion to give life to three-dimensional cartoon characters who performed their song at a 2005 MTV Awards concert in Portugal as rappers interacted with them live on stage.

But it's not just for entertainment value, said Telstra enterprise and government group managing director David Thodey who shook "airhands" with Dr Bradlow during the function. There are real applications for this "gee whiz" technology, he said. He said companies wanting to reduce carbon emissions could replace business flights with live broadcasts.

Applications would also benefit health and education sectors. "If you're in the US and can't attend a conference you could save many hours flying time in that sense to give presentations," he said.

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