Microsoft’s HoloLens demonstrations were not always impressive, but the company’s new experience at the event was nothing short of an amazing miracle.
Using a combination of body and voice capture technologies, Azure AI and HoloLens, Microsoft created an almost photo-realistic hologram of executive Julia White, and then the hologram delivered part of White’s leitmotif in Japanese, a language that a real person cannot speak.
The demonstration took place when White wore a HoloLens headset, walked and watched her clone in 3D space. She began by imagining a “mini-me” that could vaguely “hold” in her hand. After a slight flourishing of sparkling green special effects, the puppet copy turned into a full-sized clone, which began to speak a foreign language, using White’s voice samples to speak sentences that were machine-translated into Japanese.
It only takes a moment to understand the huge potential of a new technology, assuming that it works in practice as easily as in a demo. Equipped with the proper 3D camera depth scanning equipment and AI translation tools, any speaker can quickly create believable regional presentations — the main report can be pre-recorded and shown simultaneously in 30 languages. Of course, the same technology can be used for less positive purposes, forging words or actions that would not be derived from a body scan model.
At the moment, to achieve this goal, you need access to some professional-caliber hardware, ranging from high-quality specialized cameras to expensive HoloLens headsets. But similar body scanning technologies are expected to break into next-generation smartphones over the next year or so, which can create the conditions for viewing photo-realistic avatars on their screens or on consumer AR headsets. Whether Microsoft will bring this concept to its own initiative on mixed reality headsets remains to be seen.
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