EU Commissioner Makes Personal Appearance From Afar Using Hologram-ish LED Light Stick Array

December 13, 2022 by Dave Haynes

I think using those shower stall-like transparent LCD set-ups to enable personal appearances by people who can’t actually get to the destination is pretty compelling, but I’m always thrown off a bit by how the subject is very visibly encased and confined in the enclosure.

So it’s interesting to see how the UK company HYPERVSN goes at this, using an array of its madly-spinning LED light sticks. The company was engaged by the organizers of Italian Tech Week to include a presentation from Thierry Breton, the EU Commissioner for the Internal Market. Breton couldn’t make the trip, so he appeared using what HYPERVSN calls its Holographic Human set-up.

I don’t know if this was a recorded session or live, but HYPERVSN has done live-streamed ones.

I mention this because what’s visually interesting here is the way the LED light stick array enables the visuals to float and overlay the background. So Breton would materialize on the stage and attendees could see behind him, versus the shower stall set-up where the person appearing does look very much contained in the enclosure. It’s arguably more natural, though the light sticks are in a clear acrylic case (so no one is relieved of fingers or nose tips), and the generated images are softer – because they come from the spinning blades and not a fixed surface like a liquid crystal display.

You could argue that softer, gauzy output actually looks and feels a little more science fiction-y.

The DSE organizers did a nice, short-notice pivot to have data visualization expert Refik Anadol to a keynote in Las Vegas last month from a studio, where he was stuck. AHRT Media had a stand at the show and it was able to capture Anadol in a New York studio and live-stream his presentation to the DSE exhibit hall stage via a shower stall thingie set to one side. I thought it worked well, and the visuals are more life-like because you have a static display medium and  4K resolution.

What would be particularly interesting is a wider array of these things, and an equally wide green-screen visuals capture set-up, which would allow (in theory, I suppose) a speaker to wander a stage a bit, as speakers tend to do.

That said, there are tricks that could be used to integrate the stall into a backdrop that has the same color.

With both the LED sticks and the transparent LCDs used for these products, they’re called holograms but they’re not.

This BYU prof talked to Sixteen:Nine at length recently about holograms and holographics, and the many products out there appropriating the term. The vendors, such as Proto, tend to concede the products don’t meet the technical definition, but make the reasonable argument that they need a short and sweet product description end-users and solutions providers can get their heads around.

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