Report- Future Of Communication Technologies

The future of Visual Communication

As technology has advanced through the years we have used many ways to communicate; phone, skype, texting and photos. One aspect of comunication I am interested in seeing being developed in the future is visual communication. At present, instead of using just typing to communicate, such as texting and email, we have moved on to visual communication such as photos and videos.

The first and most powerful of visual communications amongst humans were cave paintings, petroglyphs and geoglyphs, which evidence has found that it was used up to 40,000 years ago for humans to communicate with each other. Visual communication over the years has moved from simple drawings, to taking pictures, to making videos and sending them to your friends. One form of visual communication I am very interested in seeing becoming reality is holographic communication.

The most advanced piece of technology we have right now on our quest to successfully inventing holographic communication is telehuman. Invented in 2012, Telehuman was created by researchers from the Human Media Lab at Queens University, Canada. ‘Why skype when you can talk to a life-size 3D holographic image of another person?’, famously said by Professor Roel Vertegaal, director of the Human Media Lab. Telehuman ‘video conferencing pods’ are a step away from holographic communication. This piece of technology works using 6 Microsoft Kinect Sensors (motion sensors), a 3D projector, a translucent 1.8m tall cylinder and a convex mirror, which is a mirror with a curved reflective surface. Using this equipment, they have managed to create the illusion of someone standing in each of the pods using videos which are transferred into 3D form in each the pods. This means that each person can communicate with the life sized holographic image of the other as if they are standing right in front of each other, while they are really in two very different locations.

What I find interesting about this piece of technology which is still being researched and improved, they have already found another use for it, Bodipod. Just after the creation of Telehuman, the researchers working on the pod have come up with the idea of using it as a 3D anatomy model which can be explored using gestures and speech interactions.Using the waving gesture as you approach the pod, the skin of the 3D anatomy model peels off, revealing whats underneath such as muscles and organs. As you near the model, you can then use voice command, simply saying ‘show brain’, and the pod will zoom in on the model giving a detailed close up of the brain.

Unfortunately, like all new, developing technology, there are always a few issues to battle with. Delay in response from the sensors to the screens is a big issue beign looked at, as it becomes a big problem using this creation for smooth and easy communication.

As technology moves on however, I am excited to see this creation become a reality, to see it become a part of everyday life in the near future.