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Hello Sci-Fi: Microsoft is taking its Holoportation to the roads

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All of us were of course overawed by Microsoft’s display of its Holoportation technology. The company displayed the tech near the beginning of the year and proved that yes, it was indeed possible to digitally transport a person’s fully captured 3D form in augmented reality. Well, the company has ramped the program up a notch and has announced that it is now possible to take the technology to the road — literally!

In case you are unaware of it, Holoportation is an all new type of 3D capture technology that allows the capture and reconstruction and transmission of high-quality 3D models of real people to virtually anywhere in the world. The technology is used in conjunction with mixed reality displays such as HoloLens, letting people interact with remote participants in 3D as if they are actually there in the same room.

The major issue with getting Holoportation into the mainstream — apart from the fact that it is still under development and needs a lots of wires — is the fact that the Internet speeds required for Holoporting your image somewhere is well outside the capacity of your average Internet speeds. Microsoft itself uses Ethernets or powerful Wi-Fi connections while testing this product.

However, the company has just announced a major breakthrough where it has managed to deploy its 3D-teleporting technology to send the digital avatar of a user to different locations — while that particular user was sitting inside a moving car! And as it goes without saying, away from ethernets or any other source of a particularly strong local Internet connection.

Announcing the update, the company said,

We are pleased to share an update on our research in 3D capture and algorithms. We took the technology out of the studio and into a car – making Holoportation truly mobile.  To accomplish this, we reduced the bandwidth requirements by 97%, while still maintaining quality. This new mobile Holoportation system greatly increases the potential applications of real-time 3D capture and transmission.

Microsoft says that it has been able to achieve this by reducing the bandwidth required to transmit images by as much as 97 percent. After the 97 percent drop, the tech needs relatively lower speeds of around 30 to 50 Mbps to work properly. The car still remained within the range of Wi-Fi, however, the projection

Of course, 30-50 Mbps is still something well beyond what most people have. However, the fact that Microsoft has managed such a drastic improvement in its technology says a lot about its future. The projection was managed with only two cameras in the car, however the image quality wasn’t all that great. It appears that while two is the minimum number of cameras required to capture and project a 3-D model of a person, more cameras equate to better projection quality.

The company is now planning to make Holoportation even more mobile by getting it to work on cellular data.

Meanwhile, you can check out this clip from Microsoft, which shows a person sitting in a car being “Holoported” to a room somewhere else.

Cool, right? Between Microsoft and Facebook’s exploits in VR and AR respectively, it will be interesting to see which of these two tech behemoths are able to catapult us into a new age of traveling all over the place while comfortably reclining in a chair within our homes.

A bibliophile and a business enthusiast.

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