MIT uses Microsoft Kinect to create holographic video of Princess Leia

Holographic images are fast becoming a reality thanks to a group at MIT’s Media Lab, and a hacked camera sensor from a Kinect gesture-recognition system for Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

According to a story in New Scientist, Michael Bove and his team at the  MIT Media Lab have, in a few short months, increased the frame rate of their project by a factor of 30, from one frame every two seconds to 15 frames per second.

How does Star Wars tie-in to the project?  Graduate student Edwina Portocarrero donned a Princess Leia costume, recreating the holographic projection plea for assistance made famous by Carrie Fisher.

According to Bove,

“The real holographic image couldn’t match the resolution achieved by special effects in the movie.  Princess Leia wasn’t being transmitted in real time. She was stored” in R2-D2’s memory.”

The MIT Media Lab demonstrated their work using computers which created a 3-D profile of the scene and data, resulting in the hologram.

According to New Scientist,

“Bove’s group started with an array of 16 low-resolution infrared cameras, spaced evenly along a metre-long line. Computer processing combined the images to generate the data needed for the 3D holographic projector at the rate of 15 frames per second.’

While anyone has access to a Xbox 360 and Kinect to hack, the holographic projector is an item custom-built by MIT over a decade ago by Stephen Benton and his students.

Bove believes the project will only get better,

“If the software gets faster we can show up to 30 holograms per second.”

Bove and his team are currently engaged in the process of creating a more compact and higher resolution group is working holographic projector.  An item Bove feels will be cheaper to manufacture and result in better holographic images than what the group can produce at present.

Are you a Star Wars fan?  How grand do you think the work of the MIT Media Lab is after reading the above and watching the video below?

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Jeff Cormier
@jffcrmr

Animal, music, literature, and history lover. Law school graduate. Founder of C4 Universe. Writer for The Next Web and a few other internet destinations. Find me on any social network site under jffcrmr. It works, try it...

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