Queen’s TeleHuman pod teleports 3D holograms of real people

Queen’s University Human Media Lab researchers have created a TeleHuman pod that lets people in different locations meet face-to-face as life-sized, 3D holograms.

"Why Skype when you can talk to a life-size 3D holographic image of another person?" Professor Roel Vertegaal, director of the Human Media Lab, said in a Queen’s news release.

When Queen’s announced the TeleHuman pod earlier this month, the news release compared it to the teleporting device on Star Trek which made the phrase – “beam me up Scotty” – famous around the world.

Picture courtesy of Queen's UniversityWhile TeleHuman has amazing potential for revolutionizing videoconferencing by making it seem like real people are in the same room when they’re anywhere else on the planet, you can’t yet step out of the pod to physically beam yourself from place to place like Star Trek’s holodeck. But you can walk around the hologram of the person you’re meeting to get a 360 degree view of just like real life.

Queen’s also used the pod hologram concept to create a 3D interactive anatomy model called BodiPod. Using gestures or voice commands, you can strip off layers of tissues in x-ray mode to see the model’s brain, skeletal structure or close up of organs like the heart and kidney.

Just think of the medical benefits BodiPod might create if a specialist doctor in Toronto could do a real-time, x-ray body scan of a person in some remote community in northern Ontario. That would take telemedicine to a whole different level from the flat screen videoconferencing used today which is part of the reason Queen’s says its teleporting pod is “revolutionary.”

The TeleHuman pod is a pretty cool example of how the new field called augmented reality (AR) is blurring the boundaries between what is real - and what is generated by computers - to create lifelike environments or even lifelike people the way Queen’s Human Media Lab did.

Augmented reality is fast becoming a leading-edge tech career. You can mash art and tech together to change the way we see the world through 3D computer-generated realities in such fields as gaming, movies, mapping or architectural and industrial modelling.

To help make Ontario a leader in this fast-growing sector, the Ontario Augmented Reality Network was formed to promote “a strategic collaboration of universities, private sector developers, cultural agencies, trade associations, local government and business generators dedicated to building and expanding the Augmented Reality Applications (ARA) sector.” Go to the Network’s website to see some of rgw latest augmented reality Featured Projects being worked on in Ontario.

Careers related to augmented reality mash up a wide range of educational paths from 3D animation and sound designers to software programming and electronics engineering. Check out CareerMash Career Profiles related to augmented reality to get a feel for what these types of programs require:

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