To overcome the physical distance between our New York offices and our editor in chief--who lives and works on the West Coast--Popular Science is exploring the cutting edge of telepresence technologies.
Earlier this year, a Russian media mogul named Dmitry Itskov formally announced his intention to disembody our conscious minds and upload them to a hologram--an avatar--by 2045. In other words he outlined a plan to achieve immortality, removing the human mind from the physical constraints presented by the biological human body. He was serious. And now, in a letter to the members of the Forbes World’s Billionaire’s List, he’s offering up that immortality to the world’s 1,266 richest people.
Building a next-generation jet engine isn’t easy, but from the cool confines of a blacked out holographic chamber in Brooklyn, it can at least be easier. Here, GE and its partners at BBDO New York have assembled ThrottleUp, an immersive 3-D holographic experience that lets users build one of GE’s new energy efficient GEnx jet engines using a gesture controlled holographic interface.
In the future, we will all live forever--at least if our body of work is popular enough to warrant resurrection. Just ask Tupac Shakur--now deceased for nearly 15 years--who showed up in holographic form to perform alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre at Coachella over the weekend.
Holographic video is sort of the holy grail of video display technology right now. Stereoscopic 3-D is fine and everything, but it basically works by tricking the brain into seeing that 3-D depth via two offset 2-D images--hence the occasional headaches associated with current commercial 3-D displays. Holographic video, by contrast, creates images that are really three-dimensional, no glasses or headaches required.
In a paper far too daunting for a Monday, researchers at the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) have described a novel way to build a simple quantum computer. The idea: rather than using a bunch of finicky interferometers in series to measure the inputs and outputs of data encoded in photons, they want to freeze their interferometers in glass using holograms, making their properties more stable.
Microsoft's Research department is always coming up with cool new ways to interact with gadgets, and this newly released video of the "Holodesk" is definitely one of the cooler ones. It uses a Kinect ("hacked" doesn't seem really correct when it's a Microsoft project) to see your hands and face, and allows you to juggle completely virtual 3-D objects--balance a virtual ball on a book, then tip it into a bowl of water, or stack virtual 3-D blocks. It's pretty amazing.
Researchers at UCLA have built a cheap, optics-free holographic microscope capable of detecting bacteria like E. coli in things like water, food, and blood. And by cheap, we mean really cheap. The researchers say it costs less than $100 to build.
Long gone are the days of pushing plastic armies around hand-drawn maps. Today’s military planners deserve technology of the future, and that means nothing less than 3-D holograms will do. Luckily, we have DARPA, ever-ready to step in with a solution.
When we last looked in on holographic telepresence tech, a University of Arizona team was impressively streaming near-real-time three-dimensional moving images, offering a glimpse of what telepresence could be once researchers iron out the wrinkles. Now, an MIT team is showing off a simplified scheme for streaming holographic video, using a single Xbox Kinect peripheral and standard graphics chips to create the fastest holographic video yet.
Videochat is cool enough, but it’s got nothing on R2D2’s 3-D holographic projector (think Princess Leia repeating “Help me Obi-wan Kenobi; you’re my only hope”). Now, a team at the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences is brining holographic telepresence closer to reality with a new 3-D holographic imaging technology that can record and project a three-dimensional, moving image in real-time without the need for any special eyewear.
When Germany hosted the 2006 World Cup, people flocked to public parks, arenas, and sporting stadiums worldwide to watch the games on massive screens at public viewing events. If Japan lands its bid for the 2022 Cup, you may be able to go to your local soccer stadium and view real-time 3-D hologram displays of tournament games projected full-size on the pitch.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.