Microsoft’s Kinect has already brought us invisibility, motion-tracked underwear and giant animated Minecraft cats. Now, it’s taking us to a galaxy far far away, thanks to researchers from the MIT Media Lab. Using Kinect and a PC equipped with three off-the-shelf graphics cards, the researchers were able to create a three-inch holographic Princess Leia running at around 15 frames per second, according to the university’s news office. One of the students in the group dressed as Leia and re-enacted the famous scene from Star Wars in real-time at a conference in San Francisco last weekend. It might not have quite the resolution as R2’s projector in A New Hope, but its one of the fastest methods of projecting a hologram around today. According to an article on geek-ceteraNews.org, a team at the University of Arizona was able to create a large hologram with much higher resolution using 16 cameras and a series of lasers. Unfortunately, this method was 30 times slower than MIT’s Kinect hack, refreshing the image once every two seconds. Maybe the most impressive thing about this hack was that the MIT researchers only got their hands on a Kinect around the end of December, giving them about a month to not only create the hologram, but double the frame rate from 7.5 frames per second to 15. Before you run out and wire up your own droids with appeals to Ben Kenobi, keep in mind that there is still one component of the setup that can’t be bought in stores. The holographic display used in the project has been developed by MIT since the late-1980s by two groups of professors and their students. The current display, called the Mark-II, is the successor to the original. Professor Michael Bove said his group is developing a larger and cheaper display using the same technology. Here’s a video of the hologram, projected in real-time over the Internet: [via MIT News Office, geek-ceteraNews.org]
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