Virtual Reality

HoloPortal brings ‘hologgers’ – step into the first YouTube for VR

By Kitty Knowles 7 December 2016
Summary

HoloPortal: zap a hologram tutor live into your classroom, a yoga instructor into your living room, or a fashion model onto your bed...

Even the creators who built YouTube couldn’t have foreseen how people would use it.

Today girls make big money from makeup tutorials, gamers earn salaries by streaming their play – even families are in on the act, sharing parenting tips.

Now though, there’s a company called DoubleMe has developed a whole new platform for people to play with: like YouTube, it’s free, and it lets you stream live or recorded video into people’s homes.

What’s exciting and groundbreaking about this new service however, is that you can share your content as a hologram.

I tested the low-res HoloPortal. A high-res gives better resolution but takes half an hour to process rather than minutes.

Step into the HoloPortal

Last night, at Ravensbourne University in London, I became one of the first members of the public to step into a HoloPortal.

I stood in the middle of a camera rig set up in a large blue room, and moved freely, waving my arms and turning in any direction.

What I couldn’t see was the awestruck audience outside, who gasped as my mini-me was transmitted live through time and space onto a big screen.

What’s more, this virtual image was viewable on any web device which you could explore with your finger or mouse – your phone, your tablet.

It could even be seen in virtual reality with Google Cardboards or VR headsets, and placed into living room with an augmented reality device like the Microsoft HoloLens.

A video posted by Kitty Knowles (@kitty.kn) on


Exciting new possibilities

Do not dismiss HoloPortal as a novelty.

Game developers who spent weeks building new characters, can now create moving models in minutes.

Already it’s been used to stream the world’s first hologram catwalk into the W London hotel as part of London Fashion Week.

It gives storytellers the power to cheaply create virtual films or sitcoms, while designers can easily scan objects into virtual shops or museums.

“We’ve no idea what will be the best content – it’s a YouTube for VR,” Albert Kim founder at DoubleMe, told The Memo.

“If you know yoga, you can create a 3-minute yoga class every day and your body will be sent out to people everywhere.”

Therapists could deliver what feels like face-to-face help in your home, while native speakers can transmit language classes to act out the very words they are teaching.

It could even become a virtual Instagram, says Kim:

“You could use it to capture your family, your friends, and your pets, to preserve the moment, just as you’ve done in video and photography.”

Yoga with Adriene has 1,805,362 subscribers on YouTube. Pic: YouTube.
Yoga with Adriene has 1,805,362 subscribers on YouTube. Pic: YouTube.

Get involved

HoloPortal is not only working with Ravensbourne students, but is welcoming exciting collaborators.

Funded through private investment and grants, its studio operates a freemium model – so anyone can use it for up to 10 minutes for free.

“3D is the only medium that regular people cannot participate in,” says Kim. “In 2D you can use a webcam, start talking gibberish and become a millionaire.”

“We want to create a platform and anyone can actually sell their holographic copy as an asset.”

HoloLens plans to open a next-gen HoloPortal in Tokyo in March 2017, with further studios tapped for New York, Los Angeles, and every major city.

Forget bloggers and vloggers: this is the dawn of the ‘hologger’.

We’re going to call that ‘hlogger’, for short.