Assignment #8

Holoportation is a new type of 3D capture technology that, with the support of a lot of cameras positioned in an environment, creates and transmits high quality 3D models of people and objects anywhere in the world in real-time. With the support of Hololens, you can actually see and speak with people teleported in your room in way as natural as face to face communication.

If Skype was the evolution of normal calls, Holoportation is the evolution of Skype. In 15 years we passed from simple voice calls to 2D videocalls and thanks to Holoportation in the next years we will start to do the first "Holocalls".

I want to compare this innovation with the Skype one. At the moment Microsoft is in the middle of research and Holoportation has a lot of things that limit it:

  • Cost: Skype could spread out easily because many people already had a computer and with only a cheap camera they could do videocalls with their friends. Holoportation is much more complex because you need to have a set of 3D cameras that have to scan the environment and a mixed reality HMD like Hololens to see the virtual people and objects.
  • Portability: At the beginning you could use Skype only from a pc, now you can use it with a smartphone wherever you want. definitely less portable, even if Microsoft is working a lot in order to solve this problem and created recently a version of Holoportation that can be installed into a car.
  • Field of View: For 2D videocalls there is no problem. Hololens at the moment doesn't have a good field of view. I've tried them and you can't see like we are used to in normal situaions or even in Virtual Reality. With Hololens you can only see the Virtual world into a little rectangle and this worsen a lot the whole experience.

With the constant improvement of technology, I think that in order to have a commercial device for Holoportation more portable and not so expensive we have to wait at least a couple of years (at least 5 if we think about a domestic use). The main improvements should come from the Hololens (that are too much limited from the FoV) and from the camera tracking. A provisionary solution can be to use a couple of Kinect-like cameras that can give a good result even if not as accurate as the original one.

Some common application can be using Holoportation in lectures, meetings, conferences. But could be very useful also use it to try clothes before buying them and see how them fit on the user.

In conclusion, I think that Microsoft is doing an amazing work that can change the way we interact with people that are not physically in our room. And this can be one of the best application of the power of Augmented / Mixed Reality.