NEW
Hologram Machine Will Let Us Visit Friends and Revive the Dead

PORTL Inc., a Los Angeles-based tech company, has just revealed its AI-enabled “StoryFile X Epic PORTL” hologram projection machine. The machine, which looks like a cyberpunk telephone booth, aims to allow people to visit each other as realistic holograms. PORTL also says the hologram machines will be used to bring historical figures and dead relatives back to life.

The New York Post reported on the newly revealed seven-foot-tall hologram machine, which allows people to converse with one another, or with an artificially intelligent hologram.

“We say if you can’t be there, you can beam there,” David Nussbaum, the CEO of PORTL, told the Post. Nussbaum is the one explaining how the machine works in the video below.

PORTL says that the machines can “beam” in people from anywhere in the world, and also play generated holograms and animations. And while the $60,000 device is simple enough to plug-and-play, recording the holograms looks like a serious task. In fact, it seems like recording the holograms requires a whole photo-studio setup.

Despite the price tag and lofty usage requirements, the machine still apparently delivers the holographic goods. Nussbaum refers to the overall experience as “holoportation,” and while that term is perhaps a bit corny, it seems apt. The machine also has a built-in camera for the holograms’ receivers, which uses AI to help identify faces.

PORTL has teamed up with StoryFile, a company focused on delivering “the next chapter in storytelling,” to collaborate on the historical figures, animations, etc. for the machine. It’s not clear how the tech from both companies is being combined, but it seems like StoryFile will be producing specially recorded content for the PORTL machine.

Looking forward, it’s hard to imagine these machines, which cost more than $85,000 with the StoryFile tech installed, appearing in homes any time soon. But it is easy to imagine museums, entertainment venues, and the like popularizing them initially. PORTL already blew people’s minds with its Tupac Shakur hologram back at Coachella 2012, after all. (Although that summoning of the deceased rapper may have also creeped out some prospective holoportation users.)

Feature image: PORTL Hologram Company