Are You Ready to Create Holograms On Your Phone?

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Holographic 3D video isn’t a wild reality for a Star Trek-style future — Jules Urbach, co-founder and CEO of the Los Angeles-based cloud rendering company OTOY predicts we’ll be seeing this on mobile phones as soon as 2015. Right from your device, you’ll be able to transport yourself into a game, travel to a distant locale or create a fully immersive learning environment in your own home. 

In the first of this two-part series on holographic video, we spoke with Urbach, whose company, OTOY recently made a splash in the tech and entertainment world when they announced that their pipeline would be helping companies bring holographic video to mobile phones by 2015. 

In our second installment, Urbach talks about how the average consumer might incorporate holographic video into their daily lives, and what lies ahead for this groundbreaking technology.

Earlier, you spoke about this technology being used by movie studios and educators. Do you also see the average person using this technology to create his or her own content -- 3D home movies, for example?

Jules Urbach: Yes, you will be able to record holographic content very easily with your smartphone, as well as share it. You're going to be able to both create and consume this content, and it has a little bit of a GoPro twist to it. There will be phones with multiple cameras, for example, and Google is working on something called Project Tango that actually records, not just a video, but also important contextual information at the scene. Projects that collect 3D data like Google's will allow your smartphones to pretty much record a virtual reality 3D image or a 3D animation of what you're experiencing around you.

The idea is that eventually it's not just the studios that will make this kind of holographic content.

What are some of the upcoming advances you're particularly excited about?

There will be cases for your phone like Google's Cardboard that basically turn your phone into an Oculus device. I've tried those from various vendors that we've been working with, and they've worked really well. They worked just as well as the desktop Oculus, actually, so that's the future for this kind of stuff. It's exciting, because users won't need to buy a lot of new gadgets to experience this kind of immersive virtual reality stream. They can use their existing phone and a relatively inexpensive case to turn their phone into a virtual reality device.

That's step one. Step two is where companies make it as easy to distribute VR experiences as it is to stream a video on YouTube. The third step is allowing not just the studios with these tools to make this content, but anyone with a more advanced phone system with 3D sensing capabilities.

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