Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The magic of holography: Life-size images that look human real

By Syed Akbar

Year: 2014.
Place: Hyderabad.
Event: road shows for general elections.
Star campaigners: Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, NT Rama Rao and YS
Rajasekhar Reddy.

Indira Gandhi accompanied by her son Rajiv Gandhi stands atop a
specially decked up open-top jeep, waving hands at a huge crowd and
seeking votes for the Congress. A few streets away, NT Rama Rao
campaigns on his famous Chaitanya Rath, delivering power-packed
political dialogues much to the enthusiasm of thousands of his
clapping supporters. At another election road show, YS Rajasekhar
Reddy hugs his son YS Jaganmohan Reddy telling people that injustice
had been done to Jagan.

Elsewhere, an enterprising politician treats his voters to a free live
show by none other than the king of pop music, Michael Jackson. For
the benefit of his young voters, he also invites Albert Einstein to
explain first hand what the theory of relativity is. And outsmarting
political parties, a leading city cardiologist, with an eye on vote
bank, gets appointment for his patients with William Harvey, who
discovered that blood circulates in the body.

Sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi on time-teleportation!
But, this may well turnout to be the politico-electoral scenario in
the next general election, if the political parties are willing to
spend a few more bucks. Thanks to the holographic technology, any dead
person can be “resurrected” and brought back in virtual flesh and
blood, talking, walking, dancing and singing to the latest filmi
tunes. They can also multi-present themselves simultaneously making
the task of organizers quite easier.

Company CEOs, expert doctors, senior defence authorities, eminent
educationists and even spiritual personalities can address their
officials, clients, students and followers across the globe
simultaneously, giving a “physical” appearance everywhere.

Holographic projection, which was highly prohibitive in cost, is now
within the reach of even small corporate offices. Two Hyderabadis,
businessman-industrialist Raj Kasu and film director Mani Shankar have
tied up with the world’s sole creator of life size holograms and
created a technology-base in the city. Their innovative designing and
manufacturing technique has brought down the cost of holographic
projection by almost 80 per cent.

“We love movies, love gadgets and all kinds of mind blowing stuff. We
thought this is the coolest idea of the decade, so we created a
holding company called Kasu-Mani and an administrative corporation
called Nchant - and we went ahead and got the exclusive licence for
India and eight countries,” says Mani Shankar.

“The emotion is pure wow. It is Star Wars technology finding its way
into our daily lives,” adds Mani Shankar. “You walk into a store and
find a walking talking avatar of a super star trying on suits, and
even advising you which one looks best on you! Or imagine yourself
appearing simultaneously in 10 places at one time, and conversing with
people in all the places,” he points out explaining how this
technology could change the very concept of our functioning.

A person could also make his avatar so real that if he stood next to
it, no one could tell who was who. Several doctors, businessmen, film
actors and educationists have expressed interest in the project, and
some of them have already ordered their holographs to be set up.

Eminent eye specialist Dr Kasu Prasad Reddy would be the first doctor
in the country to possess the technology when he gets his holograph
made next month. “I have planned to have it installed at my hospital,”
he says adding, “I may be the first doctor in the country to interact
with other doctors, medical students and patients through holography.”

Dr Prasad Reddy, who saw a few holographs, explains, “It is a 3D model
and looks real”. It becomes easier for patients to know what and where
exactly the problem is. For instance, the patient will be able to see
through the holographic heart the flow of the blood and the narrowing
down of the blood vessels, if any. The innovative part about this
technology is that the participants in a conference will get the feel
of physical presence of the expert.

Chips in Raj Kasu “holography can be used virtually in any field. It
is an exciting technology with a great future. Anyone in any field –
medicine, politics, spirituality, showbiz, corporate world and
education – can use it with ease and good results. The initial
response from the industry, markets and potential users has been
fantastic and we are rapidly moving to create several verticals, each
with a huge business potential. It can also address shortage of expert
teachers or lack of transport facilities in rural areas. For instance,
an expert sitting in a major city can `appear’ himself or herself in a
class room in a remote village and interact with students, answering
their questions.”

“You can say Raj is the business and finance end while I am the techno
and creative end. Now that we have an exclusive licence for
London-based Musion System's holographic projection technology, we
plan to enchant the whole of South Asia,” points out Mani Shankar.

Raj’s daughter Dhruthi and son-in-law Sunil, and Mani’s son Bhairav
and daughter Rohini assist Raj and Mani. Raj’s second daughter Jyotsna
too is part of the team.

Rajendra Prasad Maganti, chairman Soma Infrastructure, is so thrilled
after he saw a demo that he had made up his mind to utilise it to
interact with his employees in branch offices. “This is a wonderful
technology, which will be of great help to the corporate world,” he
says. Rajendra Prasad feels that it will enable a corporate head like
him to interact with teams located at different places in almost
`flesh and blood’. This is far greater than videoconferencing where
the participants do not feel the physical presence of the person
interacting with them. ”We are exploring the technology on how best it
suits us in regular communication with our offices,” he observes.

Film actor Allu Arjun is said to be interested in using holograph
technology. During a
recent presentation the actor was excited and readily agreed to have
it set up for him. Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Ashram in Mysore too
is excited after it was briefed to some of the ashram devotees.

HV Prasad, executive trustee, Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Ashram,
says “we are excited about this new technology. We are planning to
visit London for a first
hand feel”.

According to him, the Swamiji is happy that the technology has been
brought to India.
”Holography, I feel, will be of immense use to all the devotees
staying in far off places
as they can see the Swamiji delivering discourse, performing pooja,
and healing patients
through music therapy. The devotees can seek the blessings of the
Swamiji even though
they are not present in the Mysore ashram.” The Kasu-Mani team has
proposed to set up a huge hologram of Lord Sri Venkateswara in
Tirumala for the benefit of devotees.

Explaining how holography can be utilised in commercial
establishments, Mani Shankar says a film hero can replace the
traditional mannequin wearing a suit. “You will see your favourite
star or celebrity standing there by a corner, chatting up people and
showcasing all the latest suits one by one”. In marriage functions
too, holography can be handy. Holography will enable you to treat
guests with special shows by celebrities. The bride and groom will
dance with three of the hottest celebrities, all holograms of course,
but looking so real the guests would not guess they were not there.

Observes Ian O’Connell, director of Musion, “With India experiencing
phenomenal growth and the market opening up to the possibilities of
Musion, we are extremely excited to be expanding our presence in the
territory. By working with Kasu Mani Enterprises, we have chosen the
perfect partner. The development and creativity already being
displayed demonstrates the vast potential for harnessing Musion in new
and remarkable ways.”


The Radical Change


Holography has radically changed the simple tele-presence technique.
If you are a CEO, a business or political leader, you can be beamed up
and your avatar created in every office or location in the country,

Kasu-Mani team will not only manufacture and market Musion's
holographic projection systems but we will also create its own unique
designs. In fact, the team has pioneered the idea of creating an
8-foot cube hologram. It is an indigenous design. It will find its way
into European and US markets soon. The cube can be dismantled into
flight cases and assembled anywhere. It is wireless, except for a
single power source. It looks like a hollow box. But when you press
the button on a remote controller, in a flash a film star, a
politician, a doctor, a professor or anyone we desire can suddenly
appear and talk to you, and even answer your questions.

Holographic technology hinges on a special foil which is stretched and
placed in a manner that can convert a projected image into a three
dimensional virtual image. The original image is first converted into
a digital signal and transmitted using 4G Internet technologies to any
part of the world before it is recreated as a hologram.

Current technologies can make 100-foot wide 80-feet high hologram. The
Kasu-Mani team is pitching to make one for an air show next year. It
will create several life-size fighter aircraft as holograms.

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