Transatlantic interactive 3D hologram telepres first

What’s claimed to be the first transatlantic public demonstration of a 3D high-definition telepresence system took place this week between the InfoComm09 conference in Orlando, Florida, and studios in London and Montreal.

Based on Musion’s Eyeliner system, and transmitted across high-speed network connections by WAN service provider Masergy, a three-day programme of live, interactive holograms were broadcast via HaiVision transmission codecs.

Between product presentations by Musion and Masergy personnel, InfoComm09 audiences at the Orange Country Convention Centre in a specially a set-up conference room were entertained by a ‘transatlantic busk’, where professional and student artists in London and Montreal performed music, song, comedy, and dance. Other activities include a daily streaming House of Worship service from Pastor Erik Pattison, and a live holographic auction hosted in London with bidders in Orlando.

The Eyeliner system was first demonstrated back in February (see 'Videoconferencing gets added dimension', IT section news, 27/02/09). The image capture technology operates at a frame rate of 50fps interlaced, using standard HDTV cameras. The Eyeliner video projection system projects images onto a ‘foil’ that reproduces a two-dimensional image which the viewer is optically ‘fooled’ into seeing as a 3D image. The InfoComm demonstration used display projection and image optimisation technology by Christie Digital Systems.

The big advantage of Musion’s Eyeliner over other systems is it bandwidth-to-output ratio, says the company’s director James Rock: “Typically, we are able to get a 5mx5m wide display picture using only 6Mbps of signal space. This results in massive bandwidth savings compared to other telepresence products.”

Potential applications for the Eyeliner package are many and varied, says Masergy senior VP, business development, John Dumbleton: “This is a tool for trade show and retail displays, keynote speeches, visitor attractions, lecturers, courtroom witnesses, preachers, musicians, comedians and other forms of entertainment - especially those events that require a two-way communication between the speaker and audience.”

Holographical conferencing could also be used in contexts as diverse as political rallies, where a party leader could address groups of supporters based at multiple auditoria, to the performing arts, where musicians or actors could rehearse remotely without having to come together prior to a concert or movie shoot, Dumbleton adds.
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