An LA start-up called PORTL is marketing what it calls the world’s only completely self-contained life-sized, single-passenger, 4K resolution hologram projection machine.
The marketing pitch is that a person – like a performer or political candidate – could be captured on a white screen in one place, and that person’s life-sized, three-dimensional image be replicated in what looks like a big chiller box in a location miles or time zones away.
It’s not technically a hologram – SOOO many companies co-opt that term – but it IS pretty interesting as a technical feat and potential remote marketing and experiential tool.
The founder and CEO David Nussbaum, who has a long-background in “holograms” – doing visual tricks like Pepper’s Ghost effects for concerts and other events – is understandably cagey when it comes to explaining what’s up here.
It’s an LED-lit 500-nit transparent LCD, not unlike the chiller fridges with screens that have been on the market now for many years. But as you can see by the video at bottom that there is a lot more going on here in terms of image capture and processing, as well as the use of backlighting to illuminate the screen.
Happy New Year! Whether it’s as few as 2 machines or as many as 2,020 machines, PORTL can sync or network all your hologram projection machines together which you can run from an app on your smart phone. What’s PORTL’s New Year’s resolution? Well, it’s 4K resolution of course! pic.twitter.com/mzPnwiSWby— PORTL Hologram Company (@PORTLhologram) January 1, 2020
The shadows around the feet and the dimensional detail in the video would reasonably make viewers think this is fake, but the technique – real-time video capture and this “holoportation” was done live in front of a crowd at a Comic Con in LA last fall.
You could be immensely challenged using the regular, flakey Internet to send what would be BIG files through routers to a different location and network, but I can think of lots of cases where real-time would just need to be real time-ish … just plain forwarded and stored for on-demand or looping playback.
There are lots of other videos on the company website.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.