Last week at Bett 2017, I went to find out by trying out the technology behind HumaGram, a fully interactive holographic projection of a living person.
Developed by ARHT Media, the technology was hosted at Bett by sister company Promethean to see if it could be used in education environments to support teaching and learning. From a higher education perspective, it would offer the chance for, say, students in Australia or the Far East to take part in a lecture with an academic based in the US as though they were in the same room.
I allowed myself to be captured and turned into a HumaGram, in the process becoming one of the first members of the UK public to do so. As I sat in front of a green screen being filmed, it felt like I was about to present the weather, but the result was a perfectly rendered, three-dimensional version of myself.
The technology works by capturing ultra-high resolution footage of the subject using a high-definition camera, which is processed and sent via the internet to its destination. Video data are “unpacked” at the destination end and projected between two screens to give the impression of a three-dimensional hologram.
While my hologram’s contribution to higher education teaching would likely be modest, the possibility of taking Stephen Hawking from Cambridge to Hong Kong without his having to leave the UK is something that might just get universities interested.