In October 2021, NASA was able to transmit a holographic image of a doctor to the International Space Station (ISS), making it the world’s first “holonaut”. The term “holographic teleportation”, also called “holographic teleportation”, applies when a three-dimensional image of a person or object is instantly transmitted to another location.
At the end of last month, a small group of students from Western Institute for Space Exploration The Western Institute for Space Exploration, a research organization for training in space and Earth exploration in Canada, has come together to participate in what is believed to be the first international Holoport experiment.
co-founder and project leader Adam Sirek, a faculty member at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario and Western space. “We moved one person from Alabama (USA) to Ontario (Canada), and every student here on the project was able to immediately transport themselves to Huntsville, Alabama.”
According to a press release from the university, the team, made up largely of medical students, is exploring how this futuristic technology (hardware developed by Microsoft, and software by Aexa Aerospace) can be used in the real world.
US company Aexa has partnered with Canadian company Leap Biosystems to explore medical applications for this technology, enabling the demonstration of the first international 3D teleportation.
The special camera creates a 3D image of a person, which is then sent to the chosen destination. At the other end, a device called a Hololenser allows the receiving user to see the subject in their environment. If they are both wearing hololens, they can interact as if they were in the same environment.
Undergraduate student and project intern Adam Livchuk described it as “the best of both worlds between medicine and engineering.” “The apps that I’m looking for in particular will be able to facilitate the physical examinations that a doctor would normally do in the exam room.”
Although there is still a lot of work to be done to make a virtual medical exam possible with hololens, Levschuk says he is excited to explore all the possibilities of the program.
For another intern on the project, fellow medical school colleague Alex Chu, the implications of the technology could be enormous for accessing healthcare in remote locations. “This is the future of healthcare in terms of access to remote communities and remote rural environments.”
Modernity coupled with economics
Sirek agrees with Zhou, stressing that the technology currently costs about C$5,000 (approximately R$20,000), which, when compared to the cost of medical transportation or travel for exams, shows that the technology can represent a huge financial saving for health systems.
The promise of new technologies always brings with it some limitations and hurdles to overcome – and this is where the engineering aspect of the project comes in.
“In terms of Hololines, I’m kind of looking at biosensors that might be really easy and useful to integrate with,” said Jocelyn Whitall, a third-year engineering student at Western University. “Whether it’s like monitoring heart rate and oxygen saturation, whether it’s looking at touches,” she said, referring to technology that transmits and understands information through touch.
While holographic teleportation can take an image of a person to travel across borders, it still does not allow for touch interaction, which is critical in medical examination.
In addition to its application in medicine, technology has other advantages through its ability to connect people. Virtual meetings, which have gained momentum with the social distancing imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, can gain a 3D physical aspect using 3D teleportation.
For Sirek, one of the most exciting parts of the project is “to see the new generation of students meet the challenges of today for a better and more connected world tomorrow.”
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