If you've seen the Resident Evil movies, you'll see it coming... It looks a bit like The Red Queen's holographic avatar, however much less sinister! 

All you need is a set of HoloLenses and a room, equipped with 3D cameras. All set? Good.

If you need a tiny little reminder, this is what they look like:

Microsoft Research holoportation is a new type of 3D capture technology that allows high quality 3D models of people to be reconstructed, compressed, and transmitted anywhere in the world in real-time. In a demo video you can see Shahram Izadi, principle research manager at Microsoft Research (Cambridge UK), and his co-worker explaining how holoportations works.

"Imagine being able to teleport to any place, with anyone, at any time," teases Izadi in the demo. "That's what holoportation is all about."

So, if you combine 3D capture technology with mixed reality displays (HoloLens), remote participants are able to see each other and interact with one another in 3D, making them feel as if they are really present, all together in one and the same physical space. In fact, they are only real-time 3D holograms, creating an interactive experience that can be recorded and enjoyed at a later time as a living memory. 

How it's done? A series of 3D video cameras capture images of a participant from all angles. These images are then seamlessly constructed into a 3D model that can become a living part of any other participant's virtual reality, as long as all participants are wearing an augmented reality headset (HoloLens). They can hear, see and interact with each other, being holoported from practically anywhere. For example, you could be sitting on your couch in Canada, you cousin in a library in Japan and your friend in a student room in Germany - despite the actual physical distance, you could all be chatting in the same virtual room, in real-time, however appearing as holograms. 

These holograms are not perfect 'reflections' of actual people, you can still see they are not real persons, but the experience is new, it's there, it's giving the illusion of being actually present anywhere you like with anyone you like, and for the first time it's not just about cool effects in Resident Evil, Minority Report, Total Recall, Star Trek or Star Wars... this time it's all about you.

March 30, 2016 Living photo: Microsoft Research

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