News ID: 272584
Published: 0747 GMT August 08, 2020

Tired of Zoom calls? Company offers at-home hologram machines

Tired of Zoom calls? Company offers at-home hologram machines
The inventor David Nussbaum is shown with an artificial intelligence-powered life-size hologram of himself, near Los Angeles, US.

Looking for a new way to communicate during the pandemic? A US company has created phone booth-sized machines to beam live holograms into your living room.

The device lets users talk in real time with a life-sized hologram of another person, Reuters reported.

The machines also can be equipped with technology to enable interaction with recorded holograms of historical figures or relatives who have passed away.

Each device is seven feet (2.1 meter) tall, five feet (1.5 meter) wide and two feet (0.6 meter) deep, and can be plugged into a standard wall outlet. Anyone with a camera and a white background can send a hologram to the machine in what Chief Executive David Nussbaum calls “holoportation”.

“We say if you can’t be there, you can beam there,” said Nussbaum, who previously worked at a company that developed a hologram of Ronald Reagan for the former president’s library.

“We are able to connect military families that haven’t seen each other in months, people from opposite coasts,” or anyone who is social distancing to fight the coronavirus, Nussbaum added.

Prices for the machine start at $60,000, a cost that Nussbaum expects will drop over the next three to five years. The company also plans a smaller tabletop device with a lower price tag early next year.

The devices can be equipped with artificial intelligence technology to produce hologram recordings that can be archived. Adding that to the current device brings the cost to at least $85,000.

The companies are promoting to museums, which could let visitors question a hologram of a historical figure, and to families to record information for future generations.

People can feel like they are having a conversation with a recorded hologram, said Heather Smith, the chief executive of the company.

“(You) feel their presence, see their body language, see all their non-verbal cues,” she said. “You feel like you’ve actually talked to that individual even though they were not there.”

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