Thursday, November 4, 2010

Star Wars meets Science #1: Holographic Communications

Princess Leia: [in a holo message] General Kenobi: Years ago, you served my father in the Clone Wars; now he begs you to help him in his struggle against the Empire. I regret that I am unable to present my father's request to you in person; but my ship has fallen under attack and I'm afraid my mission to bring you to Alderaan has failed. I've placed information vital to the survival of the rebellion into the memory systems of this R2 unit. My father will know how to retrieve it. You must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you're my only hope.

 Researchers publishing in the Journal Nature have created a working 3D holographic communications device, termed “holographic three-dimensional telepresence.”  This has the potential to make the I-phone look primitive.  Imagine, we are potentially only 7-10 years away from having a holocomm unit using a holonet to communicate.

More than 30 years after the famous Star Wars movie scene in which a hologram of Princess Leia appealed for help from Obi-Wan Kenobi, US researchers have unveiled holographic technology to transmit and view moving three-dimensional images.
 Whether it be placing a phone call to family or friends, making a presentation, or playing a game like holochess (dejarik) the potential applications for this are awesome.  Imagine 20 years from now, when you make a phone call an accurate 3D hologram of the person you are talking to appears.

Who wouldn't want to appear as a giant floating head ala the Emperor and impress your friends or scare your children.  This kind of advance in technology could change the already dying home phone market, as many users are using cell phones exclusively.  This is a potential long term replacement  for the telephone that makes the most sense as a home or office feature and would seem to be much farther away from a mobile application. 
The scientists at the University of Arizona say their prototype “holographic three-dimensional telepresence” is the world’s first practical 3D transmission system that works without requiring viewers to wear special glasses or other devices. The research is published in the journal Nature.“Holographic telepresence means we can record a three-dimensional image in one location and show it in another location, in real-time, anywhere in the world,” said Nasser Peyghambarian, project leader. Professor Peyghambarian said it would take at least seven to 10 years’ work before a consumer version of the system was ready to test in people’s homes.
[R2-D2 and Chewbacca are playing the holographic game aboard the Millennium Falcon]
Chewbacca: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrgh!
C-3PO: He made a fair move. Screaming about it can't help you.
Han Solo: Let him have it. It's not wise to upset a Wookiee.
C-3PO: But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid.
Han Solo: That's 'cause droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that.
Chewbacca: Grrf.
C-3PO: I see your point, sir. I suggest a new strategy, R2: let the Wookiee win

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