Skip to main content

HoloLens and HoloBeam make real-time, 3D holographic chat a futuristic reality

HoloBeam.HoloLens
In March, Microsoft started shipping HoloLens development kits, and now we’re starting to see some of the first projects developed with the hardware’s unique capabilities in mind. Last week, the Kansas City, Missouri-based Valorem released a video of an impressive chat app called HoloBeam.

HoloBeam uses a stereoscopic camera to capture a 3D image of a person and beam it into someone else’s home via the HoloLens headset. It’s somewhere between Skype and the hologram-based communication system Emperor Palpatine uses in The Empire Strikes Back.

While wearing the headset, you’ll see the person that you’re chatting with in your environment as a hologram. The footage released by Valorem is really quite remarkable, depicting two people having a conversation in the same room, despite the fact that one is in Germany and the other is in the United States.

The app apparently features support for two-handed gestures, to make it easy to enter and exit conversations without needing to use an input device. Users can even get up and walk around in a 120-degree viewing angle before the image becomes distorted, according to a report from WinBeta.

However, there are some drawbacks to the way that the technology is implemented. Crucially, a stereoscopic camera is required to beam your image to another user — between the camera itself and the HoloLens headset, setting up a two-way conversation could end up being prohibitively expensive.

Despite the associated costs, it’s easy to see how HoloBeam could sell users on the abilities of HoloLens. This is the sort of futuristic implementation of technology that can encourage consumers to buy into a new type of device. It’s something that simply cannot be done without advance augmented reality hardware.

Valorem hopes to launch a tech preview of HoloBeam sooner rather than later, but there’s currently no set date on when HoloLens owners can try out the app for themselves.

Editors' Recommendations

Brad Jones
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brad is an English-born writer currently splitting his time between Edinburgh and Pennsylvania. You can find him on Twitter…
The best Copilot+ laptops that you can buy now
The two sizes of the Galaxy Book4 Edge on a table.

Copilot+ PCs represent a new era for Windows. Microsoft's implementation of AI is key to these new devices, of course, but so is the transition to Arm. Although Copilot+ isn't limited to Qualcomm's Arm chips, right now they have exclusivity because of the required 40 Tera Operations Per Second (TOPS) performance of the neutral processing unit (NPU) in these devices.

That means these new laptops are thin, powerful, and have fantastic battery life -- a fantastic antidote to the MacBook Air. Though we haven't reviewed any in-depth yet, here are our favorites from among the ones we've seen in person so far.
Microsoft Surface Laptop

Read more
This Alienware gaming laptop is currently on sale for $445 off
The Alienware m16 R2 on a table in front of a window.

Gamers who are planning to upgrade with the help of gaming laptop deals may want to turn their attention towards Dell's $445 discount for the Alienware m16 R2 gaming laptop. From the original price of $1,945 for this configuration with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 graphics card, it's down to a more reasonable $1,500. It's still not cheap, but it's an excellent price for a device that's this powerful and reliable. The savings may disappear at any moment though, so you should complete your purchase immediately if you're interested.

Why you should buy the Alienware m16 R2 gaming laptop
The Alienware m16 R2 gaming laptop is designed to run the best PC games at their highest settings with its Intel Core Ultra 9 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 graphics card, and it's equipped with 32GB of RAM that's the sweet spot for high-end gamers, according to our guide on how much RAM do you need. With these specifications, you'll even be prepared for the upcoming PC games of the next few years, and when you start to feel that the gaming laptop is lagging behind, it's upgradeable so you can swap out parts for better components.

Read more
What is Recall? Window’s controversial new AI feature, explained
Microsoft introducing the Recall feature in Windows 11.

When Microsoft went to launch its new Copilot+ PCs, it needed an AI feature that could showcase the power of the new NPU and AI models. That feature is Recall.

On one hand, it's a privacy nightmare wrapped in a glorified search bar. On the other, it could represent the biggest change to the way we use PCs in years.
What is Recall?

Read more