Personal home hologram machine could make sci-fi a reality

Holograms have been fixtures of science fiction for decades. Now, one company has taken a giant leap toward making personal home holography a reality.

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Image: PORTL

In recent years, a number of organizations have used hologram technology to bridge the gap between generations; artificially meshing the present with bygone figures of the past. In October of 2018, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute launched a new $1.5 million exhibit to welcome museum visitors—a hologram of the 40th US president. Earlier this month, holographic technology company, PORTL, in partnership with the SAAS storytelling platform, StoryFile, launched the Epic PORTL, an AI-powered hologram projection system.

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"For the first time in history you can converse with an artificially intelligent hologram beamed into a human sized hologram projection machine and ask them anything, anywhere, at anytime" said David Nussbaum, CEO of PORTL, in a press release. "The possibilities are wide open, given the power of StoryFile's A.I. and the life-like quality of these holograms. I'm looking forward to seeing what the world does with this."

Prior to PORTL's founding in 2019, Nussbaum worked extensively with holography throughout the film, television, and music industries. Overall, the Epic PORTL is roughly the size of a slightly bulkier vending machine or a typical stand-up freezer, measuring seven feet high, five feet wide, and two feet deep.

The unit, reportedly priced at $60,000, features a wide bezel along the frame and the central portion of the device is where the hologram is "beamed" in. The machine delivers the 4K resolution hologram image in real time, according to a recent demonstration video. A pair of speakers on both sides of the device add audio to the visual holographic component.

The potential applications for such a device are wide-ranging across industries; especially during the coronavirus pandemic as organizations, schools, and universities have shifted online to enhance public safety. Interestingly enough, the first model was sold to Medtronic and the organization plans to use the device to educate students on its campus in the US, per ZDNet.

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"Being able to combine our storytelling proprietary technology with PORTL's compact technology creates an exciting new experience for organizations and institutions to showcase their stories. We are looking forward to bringing this unique experience to the world," said Heather Smith, StoryFile CEO, in a press release.

The current somewhat hefty build may still be a bit cumbersome for many households. However, the company did present a much more company miniature version of the device in a video earlier this summer.

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