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Holograms are coming to university classrooms

Hologram technology has been breathing new life into music legends dead and alive for years, but now there are plans to use the same system to beam guest lecturers into university classrooms, the Guardian reports.

Loughborough University, about 100 miles north of London, U.K., will become the first in Europe to trial the technology in an educational setting when it beams in sports scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Those linked to the project claim that students will prefer a 3D image beamed live from overseas to a video call or a 2D image projected onto a wall, with the holograms a lot more engaging and appealing. It would also allow speakers to demonstrate a complex piece of equipment more clearly than if it were shown in a Zoom call.

Following trials, the hologram-based events could be officially incorporated into the university’s curriculum next year.

It’s been made possible via a partnership with Los Angeles-based Proto, which already offers the holograms to companies that want to cut back on business travel, with the technology allowing for meetings where everyone is in 3D, whether or not they’re there in person.

Proto founder David Nussbaum told the Guardian that the technology has great potential and that by combining it with artificial intelligence could also be used to recreate deceased people with brilliant minds, mentioning the physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking as an example.

“We can hook [the technology] up to books, lectures, social media — anything he was attached to, any question, any interaction with him,” Nussbaum said. “An AI Stephen Hawking would look like him, sound like him, and interact like it was him.”

To make the technology more affordable, Proto aims to launch smaller units for projecting the hologram, each costing less than $1,000. However, the hologram from these would be smaller than life-size.

Up to now, hologram technology has been used mostly in the entertainment industry. Seventies pop group ABBA has been using it to great effect for shows in London, while just recently, legendary glam rockers Kiss announced they would be using it to send the band on tour so that they can put their feet up after decades of grueling tours. And earlier this month, we learned that a hologram-based show is also planned for the king of rock ’n’ roll, Elvis Presley.

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