Media

This new 'holographic video' tech paves the way for a real-life Holodeck

Otoy holographic video
Image Credit: Otoy

Graphics startup Otoy released a new 360-degree holographic capture system that has the potential to drastically change how the media industry uses video.

Otoy’s new system allows you to capture the parameters of a setting (people, objects, scenes) with a mobile device’s camera. It then sends that video information to be encoded via the cloud, which allows video producers to display a 360 degree view on video stills as demonstrated in the video embedded below.

Essentially, this means you’ll be able to display a “holographic video” that mimics what you’d see when looking outside a window while walking — including details like lighting and color. You’ll still need to equip a camera like the Kinect to track a person’s face to make the effect happen.

And while this isn’t exactly a Holodeck, Rod Roddenberry (son of legendary Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry) said that he believes Otoy’s tech is the kind of software that would be needed to power a real-life version of the Holodeck itself. For now, it’ll be more than helpful to those that wish to create videos with highly detailed special effects. And it could also help change what you’d expect from a physical marketing/advertising sign.

“Holographic video, or holographic light field rendering as it’s technically known, produces stunningly realistic images that can be looked at from any vantage point,” the company said in a statement. “Each frame of video accurately simulates every ray of light in a given scene or environment and every interaction that each light ray has with the surfaces and materials therein. Every reflection, refraction, and absorption of that field of light is modeled as it would be in the real world.”

Otoy CEO and cofounder Jules Urbach told VentureBeat this kind of computing power is the same image rendering quality found in major blockbuster movies, which typically takes days to produce. However, Otoy’s new holographic capture system makes it possible to offer the same quality via a smartphone in just seconds.

The company has already partnered with a handful of major entertainment companies and film studios to put its holographic video capture tech into action. Otoy said it plans to make a commercial launch of the tech (via freestanding volumetric holographic displays) at some point in 2015.

Besides making 360-degree video, Otoy’s tools can be used to make animated movies with special effects or high-end video games too.

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