Microsoft wants to 'holoport' you into a conversation elsewhere

This new feature uses a special capture rig to put you in another place

Microsoft wants to bring HoloLens users into a conversation with other folks who aren't in the room, using a technology developed by its research division that enables "holoportation."

It's a product of Microsoft Research's Interactive 3D Technologies group, which released a YouTube video showing different people appearing in a room alongside Shahram Izadi, a partner research manager. While Izadi was being recorded in person, the other people who joined him (including his daughter) were displayed as digital renderings while being recorded in another room. 

The system uses a specialized capture rig to map how a person is moving around in real time, and sends a 3D image of them to the wearer of a HoloLens so that the two people can interact with one another. 

There are still key parts of human interaction that are missing. Holoportation users can't touch one another, of course, and it's possible for one person to walk through the other in the middle of a conversation. There's also the matter of the HoloLens's field of view -- users will only see their conversation partners through a rectangular window at the center of their vision.

That means people who holoport into conversations could look a bit like they're floating in midair. It's hard to know without trying out on the HoloLens hardware itself. 

Alex Kipman, the head of the HoloLens project at Microsoft, showed off the capability at the TED conference in Vancouver last month. NASA scientist Jeff Norris joined him on stage digitally with the help of a specialized camera rig, and the two of them discussed the potential of the HoloLens as a tool for science. 

One of the benefits to an augmented reality telepresence system is that people will be able to converse both with people who are physically present in a room next to them as well as with others who are holoporting. It's an interesting capability that might make the device more appealing to businesses who would be in the position to purchase HoloLenses when they become available for general sale in the future.

Right now, though, it's unclear if or when holoportation will be commercially available. Because it requires special cameras, it's not going to be immediately usable by people who are getting the first wave of HoloLens developer kits, which Microsoft is sending out next week.

Microsoft will be hosting its Build developer conference in San Francisco next week, and it's likely we'll get some more HoloLens news there. Stay tuned. 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoft

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?