Star Wars-style HoloBeam technology makes 3D holographic communication a reality

Microsoft’s new HoloLens technology is not the only hope but it’s a good start.

R2-D2, the iconic robot from Star Wars.
R2-D2 "Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope" Image Lucasfilm/Disney

Few Star Wars fans will ever forget the moment Princess Leia appeared in 3D holographic form from a beam of light emanating out of android man-servant R2-D2.

A classic slice of science fiction technology that seemed just slightly out of reach in our lifetime, few would have ever expected to see the day when something like this would be commonplace.

Developers Valorem thought differently though with the result being that, in 2016, we are on the cusp of the a new three-dimensional chat application that is bound to have a few sci-fi fans out there urging “help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope”.

Designed for use alongside the Microsoft HoloLens, this first iteration may not be precisely the same as the one seen in Star Wars, but it is pretty damn close.

The HoloBeam app requires the standard HoloLens headset and allows uses to chat with a 3D rendering of their friend.

Utilising stereoscopic camera technology coupled with 3D point cloud data, the headset creates a 3D projection only visible to the wearer.

Still some way off being market ready – users cannot, for example, walk all the way around a holographic subject without encountering issues– it’s also reliant on stereoscopic cameras, which are still far from commonplace.

The trial version does not allow for multiple users either, meaning headsets have to be passed on and shared in groups of two or more.

Despite all of these flaws, this remarkable piece of tech is taking us all one step closer to a real-life version of Star Wars. Now let’s get working on that Darth Vader helmet.

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