From Star Trek To Tupac: How Holograms Are Changing Communication

From Star Trek To Tupac: How Holograms Are Changing Communication

No longer science fiction, PSFK and Intel look at how performers, business execs, and even museums are embracing the technology.

Nestor Bailly, PSFK
  • 24 february 2013

From special effects in the entertainment industry to teleconferences in the business world, holograms and advanced displays are changing what’s possible with today’s communications. No longer confined to the mere video or voice call, we can project our likenesses around the world and ‘be’ present in important situations, duplicate our image for fantastical representations…and even ‘bring back’ personalities from the dead. In this article  exploring how technology impacts our lives produced with our partner IQ by Intel, PSFK looks at the impact of hologram technology.

One of the more popular examples of hologram technology is pure science fiction: the Holodeck from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Once inside, users could ‘program’ the space to virtually recreate any environment or situation with lifelike accuracy. While we don’t have this advanced setup yet (and probably not for a few more generations) we are beginning to see the initial steps from the realms of sci-fi into reality. The Holodeck paints a futuristic picture of the possibilities associated with tele-immersion. But how do we create holograms in the real world and not with movie studio special effects?

Holograms are essentially recorded moving images that are etched into a medium with lasers split by mirrors, then projected onto a special transparent film angled such that it appears to the audience that the image is floating on its own, and creating the effect of a person standing in front of them.

Imagine calling a distant colleague to work on a shared project; in a few years, rather than getting them on the phone and only communicating verbally, you both may have each other’s workspace projected in front of you as if you were in the same room together. This near life-like interaction would be achieved with technology being perfected today. Below are a few examples that demonstrate how holographic technology is poised to disrupt communication in nearly every industry.

Even if you didn’t tune into the Super Bowl you probably heard about Beyoncé’s visually stunning performance, in no small part due to the advanced displays around her. While not a true hologram, the LED floor did create a 3D virtual environment (first on the floor, then as a wall) that responded to her performance and added yet another layer of visual entertainment to an already saturated experience.

You can bet that technology like this will be increasingly common for live events. Take for example, Hatsune, a pop star in Japan, who, like Beyoncé, sells out arenas on a regular basis. But a major difference between Beyoncé and Hatsune? Hatsune isn’t real- she’s a holographic pop star created by a media group in Japan. She eventually became so popular that the group decided to take her on tour- if people will pay money to see a fabricated cartoon character perform ‘live,’ why not create a more realistic experience with a holographic show? Take for example, stage performances like Sesame Street Live! where actors dress in plush costumes- why not use a hologram instead?

Perhaps the day will soon come when artists won’t need to travel at all, instead in favor of using a holographic avatar projected onto stages across the world while they perform in the comfort of their own studio. After the initial cost of installing special screens at performance venues, this could reduce the environmental impact of touring and give audiences a much more dazzling experience for less money…minus the opportunity to get an autograph–or maybe not.

Holographic technology is changing our ability to telecommute from anywhere, so we don’t have to miss out on all the great water cooler gossip. Who hasn’t wanted to work from the comfort of their couch without sacrificing quality and efficiency? If your colleagues were holograms (in their own homes, presumably) and you could turn any surface into a collaborative workspace, you really could work from anywhere. Experts predict that within 15 years this may be possible, and indeed we’re already seeing the beginning. At a recent conference in Turkey, Intel’s General Manager Cigdem Ertem gave her presentation as a hologram, eliminating the distance between her and the audience.

When busy executives don’t have time to travel, or need to be in two places at once, the ability to project their presence anywhere has an invaluable impact. Once a common technology and transmission standards are developed (like with the telephone system), it won’t be long until time, distance and expense will no longer be factors in ‘being’ present for important business functions….

So how are holograms changing how we communicate in other industries? Continue reading here at iQ by Intel.

With the help of iQ by Intel, is exploring how technology impacts our lives. iQ by Intel connects readers to the trends and discussions that are moving our planet forward. To read more inspiring stories about how technology is unleashing the world’s human potential to create a better future visit iQ by Intel.



Machine Printer Uses Coffee Drips To Create Intricate Portraits

Arts & Culture
Technology december 2, 2016

Why Nest Doesn't Get The Holidays

PSFK founder reacts to the damaging effects of poor email marketing

Children december 2, 2016

Robots Could Be Joining Dubai’s Police Force In 2017

The real-life RoboCops can salute, shake hands and collect traffic fines


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Travel december 2, 2016

Parka Hides And Charges Portable Devices

Bolt is a jacket that lets people carry and charge their various electronics without the need for an outlet

Related Expert

Alexander Rea

Customer Experience At Retail

Food december 2, 2016

Yelp's New 'Yelfie' Feature Lets Diners Take Selfies

The update is designed to encourage people to attach a selfie when they share their experiences

Design & Architecture december 2, 2016

Build Your Own Savory Cheese Advent Calendar

A British food blogger has created a guide to building a different kind of holiday surprise

Fitness & Sport december 2, 2016

Floating Gym Concept In Paris Is Powered By Your Workout

The proposed design from Carlo Ratti Associati lets passengers ride a stationary bike as they travel through Paris along the Seine River


Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business

PSFK Op-Ed december 2, 2016

Customer Service Expert: Why Offline Retail Has Better Data Than Online Retail

Healey Cypher, Founder and CEO of Oak Labs, shares why we should be thinking about the physical store as an e-commerce site

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Syndicated december 2, 2016

What Does The Future Of Android Look Like In A World With The Pixel?

Google’s decision to make its own phone might have looked like a blow to the likes of Samsung but the reality is much more interesting

Fashion december 2, 2016

Alexander McQueen Designs A 3D-Printed Umbrella

3D-printed fashion arrives in time for the winter season

Work december 2, 2016

Why Training Associates To Be Advocates Is Key To Retail Success

In our Future of Retail 2017 report, PSFK Labs discusses strategies to prioritize customer service, which begins with associate advocates

Media & Publishing december 2, 2016

Netflix Creates Binge Candle To Celebrate A New Season Of Gilmore Girls

The streaming service developed a special layered candle that creates candle with episode-specific smells

Arts & Culture december 2, 2016

Interactive Film Tells A Story About Living With Cancer

A moving song written by a father of a cancer patient comes alive in a 3D environment


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Automotive december 2, 2016

Audi And LEGO Exhibit Autonomous Vehicle Installation

The installation at Design Miami explores the 25th hour, which represents bonus productive work or play time

Gaming & Play december 2, 2016

This Game Lets You Be A Pilot In The Drone Racing League

DRL Racing Simulator recreates actual courses in a virtual environment

Travel december 1, 2016

Hotel Chain Is Giving Away Its Not-So-Super Hotel Art At Art Basel

A lesson in how to advertise a kitschy-to-cool redesign in the middle of Miami Art Week

No search results found.