08 November 2008
The CNN "Hologram"
Earlier in the week I did watch CNN and they showcased their new "hologram' technology. Now I will have to admit that I was not paying full attention to the television until I heard the anchors saying, "This is like Star Trek, we just beam in the hologram and talk to the reporter." Of course, when I heard "Star Trek", they had my full attention. They went on to brag about this new technology. The more I watched this hologram the less I was convinced it was a true hologram that the reporter was talking to and could see in front of him and instead was just some cheap camera editing trick.
So I looked up all the info I could and sure enough, the reporter could not see the image in front of him and instead was looking at a monitor.
A real hologram image would be projected in three dimensions and appear to be standing in the room in front of you. In fact, this did happen earlier in the year, May 2008, at Telstra, an Australian phone company. They beamed in an executive who did appear to the others as a three dimensional person, and he watched in his office through a camera so he could answer questions and be fully interactive in the meeting. That is what I call a hologram.
I imagine that one day when the cost of producing a hologram goes down, we will see more of them in our everyday life. They could be used to give information in amusement parks, later in libraries or markets, and other large businesses that can afford to use this technology. In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine they use holograms to communicate ship to ship but that is a very sophisticated form of communication because the hologram can see his surroundings. I don't know if people would be comfortable with holographic forms of communication, it would be weird to have someone call and then be projected into the living room and standing there and talking. I think the phone has remained so popular because it is fun to imagine what the person looks like when you are talking, and just listening can make you pay attention to the conversation in a different way than being in person.
In any event, even though CNN pretended to have a hologram, I think it is good that they are making people aware of the new technology that is being used today. They are linking science fiction like Star Wars and Star Trek to the real world and showing how fiction can inspire real world applications. I hope we see more and genuine holograms in the future.
Here is a link to about the Telstra hologram conference held earlier in the year.