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Move over Zoom calls. This company lets you appear in life-size hologram on video calls

Zoom calls could soon be a passť because holographic video calls are a reality now.

twitter-logoShubham Verma | August 10, 2020 | Updated 14:23 IST

Highlights

  • Zoom calls may be passť soon now that holographic calls are a thing now.
  • A company called PORTL has developed the technology assisted by AI.
  • The PORTL machine is, however, way too expensive and costs starting at $60,000.

The pandemic forced everyone to remain inside our homes and work remotely but that has required seamless communication, including video conferences. Zoom has been spearheading the change in how people now communicate professionally but that might change in the future. A Los Angeles-based company has devised a new machine that creates life-size hologram that talks in real-time as you would with your contacts in person.

PORTL is the company that has created large machines fitted with its technology that beams a holographic image of the people who are interacting virtually. These images move and interact similarly as you and your contacts would in real-life. The machine is 2.1-metre tall, 1.5-metre wide, and two feet deep, with a white background on all sides. There is a standard wall charger that supplies power to the machine.

"We say if you can't be there, you can beam there," said David Nussbaum, chief executive officer of PORTL, who calls the entire process "holoportation."

The interesting feature, apart from the regular holographic video chat, is that people can record holograms of historical entities and their relatives who are deceased. These holograms can be played whenever wanted and appear as if the person was alive and standing right in front of you. "We are able to connect military families that haven't seen each other in months, people from opposite coasts," said Nussbaum.

The PORTL machine is, however, quite costly. It starts at $60,000 (roughly Rs 45 lakh), which is more than a hundred times the subscription amount of Zoom. More so, there is a free tier for people who do not want more advanced features. But the company is planning to introduce a miniature version, one that can be placed on a table-top, with a lower price next year. The price and other specifics are not available as of now.

But you have to pay up more. The machine needs to be equipped with Artificial Intelligence, developed by a company called StoryFile working in partnership with PORTL. The AI technology will take the total cost up to $85,000 (roughly Rs 63.5 lakh). The technology will actually the crux of the running holographic shows and images inside the machine.

The PORTL machine comes as a futuristic way to communicate with people who are locked down inside their homes, but the costs are way too high, which might not attract a lot of buyers initially. But Nussbaum believes these costs would drop over the next three to five years.

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Tags: Zoom | hologram
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