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Are Hologram Calls Possible?

Are We About to Get Holographic Calling?

ATurton / 4 December, 2018

Not long ago, video calling was something that belonged exclusively to science fiction.

Yet today most of us have a handful of apps installed on our phones that allow us to make video calls for free. Will the same happen for holographic calling?

With new technological developments happening all the time, some think that holographic calling – think R2D2 beaming a 3D image of Princess Leia in Star Wars – will become a reality in the very near future. The idea of projecting holograms from our handsets is certainly very cool. But is it feasible?

It all depends on 5G – or “fifth generation mobile networks”.

Eventually, 5G networks will replace existing 4G ones – and will make your phone’s data connection faster than ever before. Although no one quite knows when we will get 5G – or what the exact technology underpinning it will be – telecoms industry leaders are certain of two things: that 5G is coming, and that it’s not long before we get it.

In fact, telecoms leaders have been testing 5G networks throughout 2018, and the first 5G-ready smartphones look like they will be released next year.

By bringing broadband-level speeds to mobile, 5G will be instrumental in the roll out of technologies such as driverless cars, robotic surgery, the Internet-of-Things and…holographic calling.

According to Richard Foggie, an expert at the Knowledge Transfer Network, holographic calling could become a reality in the next five years.

Currently, in order to view a holographic call, you need some sort of headgear or other special equipment. But Foggie thinks that, as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) continue to develop, it will be possible for holograms to sprout right out of your handset. Pretty neat!

This may all sound a little farfetched. But it’s worth considering that, last September, Vodaphone made the UK’s very first holographic call. This was a significant milestone in both holographic calling and UK communications in general, with Vodaphone managing to make England and Manchester City Women’s Football Captain, Steph Houghton, appear as a live 3D hologram in front of a live audience.

So, the technology certainly exists to make holographic calling a real thing. Now we just have to wait and see how quickly we get it. While we do, it’s worth considering this prediction made by AT&T electrical engineer Harold Osbourne in 1948:

“…whenever a baby is born anywhere in the world, he is given at birth a… telephone number for life [and]… a watch-like device with ten little buttons on one side and a screen on the other…. when he wishes to talk with anyone in the world, he will pull out the device and [call] his friend. Then turning the device over, he will hear the voice of his friend and see his face on the screen, in color and in three dimensions”

Osbourne was certainly very prescient, and most of the things he predicted have already come true. Now we’re just waiting on the “three dimensions” element of his soothsaying. But it looks like we’re almost there. And from our point of view, that’s fantastic.

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