One of the major highlights at the ongoing Microsoft Inspire 2019 at Las Vegas, was the demonstration of Holoportation by Azure Corporate Vice President Julia White.
Holoportation is a type of 3D capture technology that allows high-quality 3D models of people to be reconstructed, compressed and transmitted anywhere in the world in real-time.
Microsoft Researchers have been working on this technology for several years by utilizing Mixed Reality (MR) devices with HoloLens, which is a pair of mixed reality smart glasses. Individuals owning these devices will be able to see each other virtually, thus giving the impression that they are in the same room at the same time.
Yesterday, on Day 3 of the conference, White demonstrated this technology using Mixed Reality and Azure AI. White wore a HoloLens 2 headset which generated a ‘mini-me’ version of herself, which she could almost hold in her hand. After a little sparkling of green special effects, the miniature version got transformed into a full-size hologram of White. The hologram of White spoke in Japanese, even though the real White doesn’t know the language personally. The hologram White’s voice was the exact replica of the real White’s “unique voice signature”.
White said this “mind blowing” technology was made possible by using Mixed Real technology to create her hologram and to render it live. Next, it used Azure speech to text capability in English transcription to get the speech and then used Azure translate to translate her language in Japanese. Finally, the neural text to speech technology was applied to make it sound exactly like White, just speaking in Japanese.
This is not the first time that Microsoft has demonstrated its holographic technology. Last year, during the Microsoft Inspire 2018 event, the Microsoft team had remotely collaborated in real-time with a 3D hologram. The demo participants had used advanced hand gestures and voice commands to collectively assess and dissect a 3D hologram of the Rigado Cascade IoT gateway.
The Azure text-to-speech allows users to convert their custom voice into natural human-like synthesized speech. Thus, this technology gives the ability to converse with anybody, anywhere in the world in real-time, without any language barrier and in their own voice texture.
The audience present expressed their amazement during the demo. The seamless technology has also impressed many Twitterati.
Now this is what this device needed, very leading edge tech that other device makers cannot not even think of doing at the moment coz they have other unrefined bits in their tech, thanks Microsoft for putting in that money and showing them whose boss in this AR industry
— Tindo™ (@tendaidongo) July 17, 2019
— Kamara Swaby (@KamaraSwaby) July 17, 2019
— Bobby Chang (@bobbyschang) July 17, 2019
— Hiral “1x Dev” Desai (@_dimpy_) July 17, 2019
With Microsoft showcasing its prowess in the field of virtual and augmented reality, it can be expected that devices like 3D cameras, HoloLens headsets might become the new norm in smartphones, video games, and many other applications.