It was maybe 10 years ago, perhaps longer, when a few companies started marketing solutions for airports, retail and elsewhere that involved a looped rear-projection of a person on a sheet of plexiglas overlaid with a projection film.
The idea was that this virtual person – albeit a short-ish and very flat person – could endlessly welcome people or give instructions. At TSA screening areas, they could take the place of the poor bastards who spent their shifts hollering at people to take off their shoes and belts.
The problem: they were projections, so in bright areas the image was dim, and the things would break. I haven’t been through Newark’s airport in a couple of years but I betcha the one I’d see in there is still malfunctioning. I even fixed it myself once, for the hell of it.
I started referring to the things as Talking Flat Ladies, and they never got much traction in the AV or signage business. Every so often they re-surface, usually accompanied by over-excited, next big thing marketing language.
Now we have Hypervsn, the company that heavily markets those LED spinning wand thingies, saying it has debuted the “Holographic Human.”
It is the same idea, except the visuals are delivered using the LED light wands instead of projection. There are advantages over the projection. With the former, the “human” had to stand perfectly still to conform to the projection surface, whereas this allows movement. But because the light wands are madly spinning to generate the visual, the whole thing has to be enclosed in plexiglas, so some curious little kid doesn’t lose a hand.
The premise is that it is “the latest way for you and your customers to differentiate themselves from the crowd. The ability to combine with audio creates an incredible solution to welcome and inform customers to your premises or retail store.”
I have written a few times lately, including a guest post for AVIXA, suggesting that while I don’t have a lot of enthusiasm for these things generally (moving parts = problem), I saw some applications that appeared to be on point and effective, instead of short shelf-life eye candy.
But this isn’t one of them.
And they’re not holograms. At all.