‘Star Wars’ Style Holographic Television In Testing By BBC

The BBC is testing a technology that could make every “Star Wars” fan’s dreams a reality. A 3-dimensional holographic table television has moved beyond concept and is now working as individuals test its capabilities in an attempt to fine tune the invention.

According to Business Insider, the holographic television is reminiscent of the one Princess Leia used to send her message to Obi Wan Kenobi, via R2-D2, in “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.” Similar holographic televisions were seen on the Millennium Falcon in the form of the chess board, as well as in various war rooms throughout the series. Many fans of the fantasy films have dreamed of owning their own holographic televisions, some have even used their iPhones to make one from scratch.

Although the DIY project is pretty amazing, a real working holographic television is a fantastic idea. Imagine Watching ‘Jaws’ on your television at home and the great white shark jumps out of the screen and devours your bowl of popcorn.

According to the BBC, the holographic television is currently being used to bring subject matter such as dinosaurs to life in an effort to test its capabilities.

“The BBC has created an experimental ‘holographic’ TV device that brings to life some of its archive footage, ranging from the iconic BBC globes to giant dinosaurs.”

As explained in a BBC blog post, the project was much easier than imagined, utilizing technology that already exists and known techniques that keep the project cost low. Unfortunately, the imagery that is created is also low quality. However, if the project catches on, high definition versions may make their way into development in the future.

“We used existing technologies and simple techniques to explore ‘holographic’ content. The device that we made also gives us an extremely low-fi and low-cost way to assess how the ‘floating’ images of augmented and mixed reality devices, which aren’t readily available for audience testing, might be used to view BBC content in the future.”

The first demo model of the holographic television used a 46″ flat screen television that was already available in the BBC offices. The plastic pyramid was created locally. Once the device was assembled, the team scoured the BBC archives to bring some of the most iconic imagery to life within the pyramid. The team of researchers were amazed by the quality of the images that came to life, despite their low quality.

Cyrus Saihan, head of the digital partnerships at the BBC, is excited about the direction the holographic television could take the entertainment industry.

“Our experiment was fairly simple but with new technologies on the horizon such as augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality there is a chance holographic TVs could become a feature of living rooms in the future.”

Despite the excitement about the project, Saihan is quick to note that the technology to create vivid imagery is not quite available yet. The biggest complaint thus far is the limits of the holographic television’s use and the requirement of the pyramid.

“There are limitations with our experimental device – only certain types of footage will work, you need a fairly low level of light in the room to get the maximum impact and the viewing angles are narrow. The physics of the light reflecting off the pyramid and the TV’s screen size also means that there will always be a practical limit to the size of a display such as this.”

Despite the limitations, hope is not lost. It wasn’t long ago that speaking to someone across the country was limited to Morse Code via a telegraph, now the use of cellular phones has taken us in an entirely new direction.

Would you buy a holographic television?

[Featured Image by cherezoff/Shutterstock]