26.01.11

Kinect delivers holographic TV. Star Wars fans rejoice.

AUTHOR: Inavate

Carrying on their run of form, home-brewed systems using Microsoft’s Kinect device continue to impress the tech world. The latest eye-catcher comes from a team at MIT, which has developed what it believes is the basis for near-real-time holographic recording and communication. What better way could there be to demonstrate it than with someone dressed up as Princess Leia?


Regular readers may remember that we reported on the use of holograms in November last year, when Nasser Peyghambarian of the University of Arizona College of Optical Science, demonstrated a new type of holographic projection that creates a 3D, moving image.

The Arizona holographic TV device used 16 cameras to "record" an object in true 3-D, then portray it as a jerky moving image that only refreshed every two seconds.

The team from MIT reckon they can do considerably better, having used a developmental laser scanner that's descended from one that’s been in use for years, and bolted it to a simple MacBook that's connected to a Microsoft Kinect. The imaging and positional sensors in the Kinect, it turns out, are ideal for a quick-and-dirty holographic object scanner for real-time TV.

There are some limits to the tech as you can see (starting with the fact that we can't see the 3-D effect without being there--the camera just captures red blurs).

The MIT team has also only managed to push the Kinect hardware to capturing motion at 15 frames a second, compared to the 24 needed for films or 25-30 fps for TV. Also, the processed signal from the Kinect scanner/Mac combo is sent to a powerful desktop PC running custom software on three high-end graphics cards to power the laser-display system - this is the bit of the tech that's not quite ready for the mainstream.

However, it's pretty clear what's possible given some more advances in computing power.