Are Holograms Next in Line for Virtual Communication?

I was a child of the 1980s, and as such a child of the original Star Wars trilogy. 

As a six-year-old I went to the cinema with my dad to watch Return of the Jedi – and suffice to say, it blew my young, impressionable mind. I mean, Jabba the Hutt alone was enough!  

But then there was rest of the Tatooine sequence, the breakneck speeder-bike chase on the forest moon of Endor and, of course, the final confrontation between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vadar.  

The series was also revolutionary in its use of holograms for characters to communicate across the planets, and from the dead to the living.  

The technique is pivotal in the moving final scene of Return of the Jedi in which Luke observes the three legendary Jedi that shaped his world – Anakin, Yoda and Obi-Wan. 

Now, four decades on, we could all soon be using holograms to keep in touch. 

The Independent UK reports that after 15 months dominated by video calls (anyone have shares in Zoom?) tech forecasters are predicting holograms will be the next big thing in virtual communication.  

A poll of 2,000 British people from Virgin Media found half were bored of video calls, with a majority stating they don’t give the desired interaction or closeness.  

One-third of those polled said having an image of their loved one beamed into their home would elevate connectedness.  

And it might come sooner than we think, with tech forecaster and futurologist James Bellini predicting that by 2030, we could all be using holograms to stay connected to our nearest and dearest. 

“Advancements in technology and lightning-speed broadband mean that pioneering forms of connectivity, such as holograms, are now viable options for when we want to feel closer to those we’re not physically able to be with.  

“With technology moving as quickly as it is now, it wouldn’t be strange for holograms to be commonplace in UK households by the turn of the decade.” 

Bellina says adoption of the technology could “revolutionise the workplace, our social lives and events, travel and leisure or dining experiences”. 

“Having a 3D life-size, real-time connection with someone via hologram opens up a world of possibility and acts as a great starting point for those looking to re-adjust to normal life as restrictions ease, while relieving the longing of wanting to ‘be’ with another person,” he says.  

The study also found some adults believe that in the future, hologram technology will enable them to start jobs that never require meeting colleagues in real life. 

The poll marks the launch of Virgin Media’s ‘Two Hearts Pizzeria’ initiative in the UK, a country that has experienced extended lockdown periods due to the pandemic.   

A pair of dining pods opened for two days yesterday, one in Edinburgh and the other in London, allowing people to eat with loved ones as though they are sat in the same room. 

Displaying a perky penchant for cheesy PR lines, Virgin Media’s COO Jeff Dodds said: “The real-time holographic technology demonstrated at the Two Hearts Pizzeria is the natural evolution of the video call, and thanks to our gigabit network, we’re serving up a slice of the future.” 


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