Another step forward in making Star Trek tech a reality
By Staff Reporter, Brittany Gamboa
From the days of seeing Princess Leia‘s flickering holographic message to Obi-Wan asking for help, to the Holodecks of Star Trek fame; many of us have dreamed of seeing true 3-demensional holograms that we can interact with. I was honored to have the opportunity to speak with a team of scientists who are working steadily to make one aspect of that dream come true.
Using life-size hologram-like telepods that are set to revolutionize the entire notion of videoconferencing and communication as we know it, the technology grants us the ability to stand in front of one another via holographic, or “stereographic” imagery, using cylindrical pods; while conventional videoconferencing tools such as Oovoo and Skype are principally flat and one-dimensional.
Using what Dr. Roel Vertegaal, an associate professor in Human-Computer Interaction, along with his colleagues at Queen’s Human Media Lab in Ontario-Canada have created, we can essentially see one another with a full 360 view. This technological vision derives from when we saw xbox users earlier in the year who were gifted enough to manipulate the Microsoft Xbox Kinect’s features; using the Kinect’s dual-cameras the team was able to achieve the holographic images. There are 6 Kinects placed atop 1.8 meter-tall acrylic pods, a conventional 3-D projector, and a convex mirror.
Looking at the same technology but using it as a human body simulator, the “Biopod” was created as well. A subject can step closer to the pod and with the wave of his hand, reveal layers of the image’s tissue, muscles, organs, and finally their bone structure. This technology is so advanced it responds to voice commands, such as we see used in the iPhone and in our GPS systems. Commands can be said to show a specific part of the human body and the pod will show a precise 3D model of it.