Holograms: It could be anybody.

Your teacher, your sister, your wife

Okay, not really, but you’d be shocked by the sheer detail and realism of some holograms these days.

First a disclaimer: I know this isn’t necessarily about writing. But in the blog schedule I’ve got running, Sundays are fun days so I’m going to give you something I’ve recently tripped over that absolutely fascinates me.

About a month ago, a friend of mine showed me this video. I was skeptical–supposedly, the song’s in 100% Japanese, and I’ve never been fond of foreign music–but she insisted, just watch it. So I did, and it blew my mind.

(For those who aren’t familiar with Vocaloids, they’re fan-made songs created by an artificial voice of sorts that can be downloaded on any number of websites, different voices for different characters, and the creator of each song creates some sort of animation to go along with it. It’s a youtube craze, as well as all over many corners of the internet. But they’re entirely fictional anime-style characters… I guess if the people want a concert, that’s not going to stop them, is it?)

I’m still not thrilled by their sound, but I was (and still am) in awe of the quality of holograms that are apparently on the market. A few spots in the video are a tiny bit fuzzy, but I’m positive that’s the camera’s fault, because when it pans out to the ‘audience view’ it looks just like two moving, singing, and fully 3-D anime characters are on that stage. (For more of their videos, try this or this.)

‘Alright,’ you say. ‘It’s nice and all, but I’m not very impressed. After all, they’re still cartoon-ish and obviously fake.’

Earlier today, I tripped over this video here:

I almost didn’t believe two of them weren’t real, until the special effects in the finale.

So this all made me wonder: Are concerts and entertainment really the pinnacle of holograms today?

It turns out, not by far.

Since as far back as 2009, the military has been using 3-D holograms to better prepare their troops for the missions ahead.

“It’s called Tactical Digital Hologram technology, and more than 10,000 units, which at first glance look like flat plastic maps, have already been fielded to Special Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The article continues, “A study […] in 2009 showed that the appropriate use of 3-D holographic imagery improves training, mission rehearsal and mission operational effectiveness, due in part to visual learners making up roughly 65 percent of the military population. A visual scene of a 3-D world is a more intuitive and natural representation than a 2-D display, and a single integrated object reduces the need for mental integration of two or three separate representations, the report stated.”

And it goes on to say that, naturally, this technology is in high demand. Specifically by the medical community–there are dozens if not hundreds of intricate medical procedures that at current, medical students can only learn by demonstrations (and practice) on live patients.

Beyond that, Homeland Security wants this technology to help train their bomb squads, and Border Patrol wants it to help immigration workers memorize the terrain so they can better spot suspicious activity.

All of that being said, there are no words to capture how much I’d enjoy a little holographic dragon on my desk… Maybe someday!


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