Ever since Luke Skywalker heard Princess Leia’s plea to
‘Help me, Obi Wan,’ we have been fascinated with the idea of holograms.
However, even sci-fi, usually way out in front when it comes to unrealistically
futuristic ideas, hasn’t yet come up with the idea of interactive holograms,
instead using them as a form of long distance Skype or, as in the Star Wars
example above, as recordings of important speeches. The advent of artificial
intelligence, which is in a phase of rapid innovation and advance at the moment,
shows itself ready to merge with augmented and virtual reality in so ready a
fashion that we might worry that some great conspiracy might be afoot to bring
alien technology online on Earth…
All joking aside, the idea of interactive holograms is a fascinating one, and it could prove to be a stupendously useful tool.
Reception areas could benefit tremendously from an interactive hologram as secretary and guide, checking people in for appointments, offering directions and, when necessary, summoning security. This could represent a saving on labour costs, reducing overheads and boosting profits, while the information needed by the hologram can be uploaded in a blink from anywhere with a data connection, ensuring that the public face of any company is always efficient, up to date and presenting the desired appearance to the world.
Lectures can easily be delivered by pre-recorded holograms, and they can even have answers to common questions programmed into them so that there can be a question and answer session, just like in sessions with living lecturers and tutors. In fact, hologram lecturers might be even better than real people, as computers will not forget important facts or mislay any of their handouts!
How to guides will also benefit from interactive holograms as they can talk anyone through an activity, from start to finish at the desired pace of the user. Sometimes following instructions can be tricky, and being able to ask a hologram to go over instructions one more time, or to repeat the instruction in a slightly different way.
Interactive holograms can also help in games – much like current games when helping figures pop up to issue instructions and advice as needed by players to guide them, remind them of their mission or get them back on track when they get stuck.
As with many new technologies, interactive holograms seem to be an amusing advance, but not one that is of vital importance – but then, many innovations originally started out as children’s toys or mere amusements, before being usefully scaled up for use as adult’s products. One thing that does seem clear: there are uses for this technology that we are only just beginning to realise, and it is almost certain that there are uses – or rather there will be uses – for it that we have yet to consider!