Microsoft’s Holoportation technology allows users to have a shared augmented space via custom tracking cameras. These moments can be recorded in real-time and played back later using different scales, materials, and lighting.
The most obvious benefit here is the ability to jump into a conversation with a human like avatar that is not physically present in the room. No elbow or eye tracking is needed as the two spaces are merged into one. If this were capable of being projected beyond the space, users could “live” together while being on separate ends of the globe. Memories recorded in this space looked like they could be placed anywhere in the world using Hololens without the extra tracking, so things like newspaper and picture frames could be replaced with their life-like equivalences. Video conferences would no longer be awkwardly looking at a screen to see the remote person, teams from around the country or world could meet in a common space. Email could be expanded to HoloMail, were instead of receiving text, users could receive a message spoken by the digital likeness of a person. Even full-scale events and movies could be recorded this way and played back by users. For example, imagine a live holograph of a football game on a coffee table or watching Thor hit some aliens off a couch. This could also be used for security for events. Police would instantly have a 3D scan and the facial structure of anyone who walked in the space were Holoportation is setup.
The largest downside here is cost. The whole setup requires at least two Hololenses and a multitude of custom-made cameras. This puts this out of reach of the average consumer. Space could also be an issue. There needs to be cameras places all around a physical space at different heights and angles, essentially taking up a room. Another downside includes the lack of support for shared objects. While the tracking is great, if one object overlaps another object in the other physical space, the result will be a merged object, breaking the illusion that the hologram both users are looking at is reality.
The resulting projection, while impressive, does have some flaws. Some of the avatars may fall into the “uncanny valley”, especially when tracking errors occur and the arm and the body get joined. Further, sometime the faces are too low res to show subtle facial expressions and eye movement. Both are important to get humans to adjust to the system. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if this technology borders on photorealistic, it could be hard to determine who or what is in the space and who isn’t.
Finally, privacy problems may arise from this. This is reminiscent to the outrage O’Hare received for adding full body scanners. A lot of people are not OK with being 3D scanned, so would the user need to agree to a EULA to enter the space? Or perhaps it is on the host person to inform the guest that there is a room in their home capable of recreating their likeness digitally?