This has the potential to be the greatest Kinect hack in the world! Researchers at the MIT Media lab have used a Kinect, an off-the-shelf laptop, the internet, a Princess Leia impersonator and a PC with three GPUs to transmit a holographic image over the net at about 15 frames per second. Help us MIT, you're our only hope!
What's amazing about this hack is just how much they've managed to do in such a short period of time since the Kinect went on sale at the end of last year. The researchers have managed to boost the system's frame rate from 7 fps to 15fps, and believe that with a bit more time they'll be able to raise it to 24fps, which is fast enough to trick the human eye into thinking it's continuous motion.
The benefits of a holographic display over 3D is immeasurable. For a start, there's no need for glasses, as there is perceived depth already there. There's also the benefit of being able to view around the image - where 3D is filmed from a single perspective, holograms offer users the chance to view around the action. Previously, it's taken rigs cameras around a subject to capture that kind of detail, but the Kinect's unique sensors allow for a much smaller setup.
The one part of the setup that can't be purchased at your local electronics store is the holographic display itself, which is undoubtedly going to hold back the commercial rollout of the technology. But given that the incredible 1.5 gigabytes per second of holographic video data that are being created and transported on the fly using today's hardware, a future where holograms are the realm of reality and not just science fiction seems closer than ever.