Microsoft introduces mobile holoportation
Thu 24 Nov 2016
With technological advances resulting in a significant decrease in bandwidth requirements, Microsoft has a working prototype of a holoporatation system that can be used in a moving vehicle.
Holoportation is a 3D video capture technology that, when combined with a mixed-reality display like a HoloLens or HTC Vive, allows users to be present as a 3D image from a remote location.
Previously, a person could use 3D video technology to capture their image and project it to a remote location, interacting with remote partners in real time. Advancements in motion capture technology have allowed researchers at Microsoft to reduce the bandwidth required for holographic projection by 97% while maintaining video quality.
This means that holographic images can be captured and presented on the go – in this case, an individual in a moving vehicle can be present holographically at a remote location, interacting with other participants in real time.
Projection requires only two cameras, although the more that are incorporated, the higher quality image that is projected. Viewing an image in 3D requires the remote participant to wear a mixed-reality display device.
The company had to overcome several engineering challenges in order to make mobile holographic projection viable. The first was the bandwidth issue. By using a unique compression algorithm, researchers were able to reduce the bandwidth required to 30-50 Mbps, meaning that real-time projection was made possible for a vehicle within WiFi range.
The system will be usable on cellular data soon.
Other issues included reducing the size of the equipment to fit in a vehicle, and making the system robust enough to handle changes in vibration and lighting that would be present in a moving vehicle.
The research team found it important to note that the technology was made for passengers only, to be used in the back seat of the vehicle, without interactions with the driver.
Live 3D capture allows users to interact with remote people in a realistic and natural manner, but the system also has record and playback abilities. These allow a person to rewind and review holographic interactions as if they were a third party, experiencing them from an alternate point of view.
An earlier Holoportation video: