World’s 1st international holographic teleportation performed

Holographic teleportation sounds like something out of Star Trekbut instead of a specific room on a science fiction interstellar spaceship, a worldwide technological achievement took place in a meeting room on the campus of the University of Western Ontario (Canada) recently.

The team, made up largely of medical students, is exploring how this futuristic technology can be used in the real world. Whether it’s people communicating or providing medical assistance and care to remote areas, even on the International Space Station, the possibilities are just beginning to be understood.

fascinating possibilities

The technology for holographic teleportation comes from hardware developed by Microsoft and software from Houston-based Aexa Aerospace. Aexa partnered with Western Canadian company Leap Biosystems to explore medical applications for the technology, which led to the demonstration of the first international holographic teleportation.

The innovation involves a special camera that creates a holographic image of an individual, which is then sent to the destination of their choice. The user on the other end is using a device called hololent, not unlike VR gaming headsets. Through the hololens the individual can see the holographic image within his environment. If both are wearing a hololenser, they can interact in their environments as if they were actually there.

While the novelty of traveling a great distance instantly is fascinating, for medical student and project intern Adam Levschuk the possibilities for healthcare are more exciting. “It’s like the best of both worlds between medicine and engineering,” he said. “The applications I’m looking at in particular are facilitating physical exams that a doctor would normally do in an exam room.”

While there is still work to be done to make a virtual medical examination on the hololens a reality, Levschuk said he is excited to have the opportunity to explore the possibilities.

cost savings

He also has bragging rights to say that he attempted the first virtual handshake across international borders. “Every time you put it on and see the hologram appear in front of you, it’s still a little bit shocking,” he commented. “I could reach out and practically shake hands with the person on the other end of the line.”

Medical student and project intern Alex Zhou said the technology’s implications could be huge for accessing healthcare in remote locations. “This is the future of healthcare in terms of accessing remote communities, remote environments and providing rural access to healthcare,” he said.

Sirek agreed with Zhou, emphasizing that the cost of the technology is currently around US$5,000 (about R$26,000), which, when compared to the cost of medical evacuations or even travel for examinations, leads to the conclusion that this type of technology can have the potential for large cost savings for healthcare. “This can affect a number of factors, including physician access to these (remote) areas and physician licensing. I think it will be a very big game changer for rural health care.”

challenges for engineering

But with the promise of new technologies there are inevitably limitations and obstacles to overcome – and this is where the engineering side of the project comes in.

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