Also known as “telepresence,” the use of holograms is on the rise. Instead of Princess Leia, the last 5 years have ushered in real-world holograms that have been used to resurrect dead musicians, to create new musical stars in Japan, and and to transport political analysts into the studio of their choice.
Yet there are many other uses for holograms that could have a far greater impact on our everyday world, as the following video chronology suggests.
In a paper published today in Nature, they report the transmission of moving 3D images from one place to another in almost real time. This means it may eventually be possible to communicate with moving 3D images of friends or colleagues who are on the other side of the world. Surgeons will be able to use the technology to step into virtual operating theatres in other cities, and films will become ever more immersive. (Source)
Just a short while later Wired reported on U.S. military advancement toward battlefield holograms, and were already using holograms in some installations:
Early holograms are already a fixture in military headquarters, according to the Times article. A company called Zebra Imaging in Texas has been selling 2-by-3-foot plastic holographic maps to the Pentagon — its “main customer” — for $1,000 to $3,000 a pop.
The military “sends data in computer files to the company. Zebra then renders holographic displays of, for example, battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan.” No goofy 3D glasses required, just a custom-made LED flashlight that “activates” the image encoded in the plastic. (Source)
Here is a demonstration of that system:
Here is a hologram projector that appeared at a military trade show.
Pretty basic, but things have become far more complex since. Fast-forward to 2011; The Independent issued a report about a new system of hologram security that would greet passengers at Manchester Airport:
The recordings of actual employees John Walsh and Julie Capper will appear as travelers enter the security search area at Terminal 1. They will explain the liquid restrictions and remind passengers to have their boarding cards ready.
Bosses at the airport say it has become the first in the world to introduce holograms as part of its passenger security preparation. (Source)
Here is the T1 hologram system in action:
Now we’re getting somewhere. But it wasn’t until Indian Prime Minister Shri Narenda Modi took to the virtual stage that a new reality presented itself in earnest: the holographic politician. The world’s largest election employed 3D holographic technology to reach the masses.
It was such a success that Bloomberg Businessweek is reporting that the company which created Modi’s hologram, HologramUSA, is gearing up to do the same for the 2016 U.S. elections:
Several months after Narendra Modi rode a hologram-enhanced wave to electoral success in India, the groundwork is being laid to create virtual versions of Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, and anyone else who wants to campaign for office via hologram. (emphasis added)
As if that is not scary enough for some, each political party could resurrect dead presidents to reinforce their policy points. Lobbyist Jeffrey Taylor will be in charge of creating some possibilities:
Taylor says his first calls will be to the Republican and Democratic National Committees. He envisions 2016 conventions where holograms of Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy address the party faithful. “This is not necessarily a partisan thing,” he says. Taylor also believes that campaigns will use holograms as a substitute for retail politics, much in the way Modi did. (emphasis added)
It would be easy to argue that politics is already a manipulated theater event – introducing virtual reality to an already questionable reality will distort events even further.
As with nearly all technology, however, there is misuse as well as the promise of powerful new ways to expand our knowledge and ability. The following video clearly shows how the use of holograms will only accelerate as the exponential growth of computing power dictates, while the real-world applications likely become irresistible.
Kevin Samson, Activist Post