Own your own hologram device with the PORTL hologram machine

The PORTL device is AI powered – and displays holograms that can chat to you in a booth
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Imagine asking Joe Biden or Donald Trump the questions you would really like them to answer in the run up to the election – and have them beamed in to answer you. Now a new machine could let you do just that.

PORTL claims to be the most cutting edge hologram technology in the world. Its inventor, David Nussbaum created the PORTL unit after having worked on arena-sized holograms, and the Ronald Reagan Library hologram.

The PORTL unit is a full-sized machine, about the size of a vending machine, that will beam a 4k holographic presence from anywhere in real time.

You can shoot live content in the app which connects it to the PORTL device. The live person in the PORTL unit can see, hear and interact with audiences with no lag time.

At only 7ft x 5ft x 2ft, it achieves the goal of making life-size holograms available in small spaces, without expensive installations. The devices can 'beam' in people from anywhere in the world, and record and play holograms of people and animations.

Own your own hologram device with the PORTL hologram machine zdnet

Last week the company announced a partnership with Lost Angeles, CA-based SAAS interactive video platform StoryFile to deliver video that will talk back to the user and add AI and natural conversation to digital content.

With the StoryFile AI, a hologram is created that can also answer questions, and respond if someone steps up to the PORTL to engage with it.

The StoryFile and PORTL partnership will put StoryFile created content inside PORTL hologram projection machines, to present subjects with realistic shadowing, even in broad daylight.

Fans could chat to celebrities, and other notable people who have recorded answers to a series of questions. These responses are used to answer questions giving the appearance of a live chat with the celebrity or famous person.

The opportunities for this device are very wide ranging. Museums and Halls of Fame would benefit from the PORTL with the StoryFile AI partnership.

Visitors would be able to interact and ask questions of people through history who's answers have been recorded for PORTL. Sharing and preserving stories in the storyteller's own words could bring these stories alive.

In fact, the first package has already been sold to Ireland's Medtronic which will use it to teach on one of its US campuses. PORTL could also be implemented at trade shows, airports, shopping malls – anywhere there are people in the vicinity.

There is no special equipment needed to produce the hologram. All you need is a white background at the remote end.

The company offers a checklist of advice to ensure that the end result is good and trains clients on how to use the PORTL. Obviously the higher speed the internet connection, the better the result.

The standalone units, which are made out of steel, can be powder coated to fit brand requirements. The unit has embedded speakers, situated at head height for an adult. The stereo speakers are aligned left and right for a good audio experience.

Embedded in the bezel of the unit is a forward facing camera. This enables the person beamed into the unit to be able to see, hear, and interact with the audience in real time.

Several units could also be networked together so that the person being beamed could be in several places at the same time.

The camera also will act as a detector to trigger motion specific content if someone walks in front of the screen. AI facial recognition is used to deliver a more personalised experience for the user, interacting with the avatar in real time.

Light is evenly distributed around the unit, to ensure the best experience possible. The internal corners are curved to give a smoother projection, and gives a more solid realistic appearance inside the hologram unit.

To use it, plug it into the wall and it is ready to go. Use the PORTL app to select the content, click and the content is beamed to the unit and is ready to go. Watch David Nussbaum demonstrate the PORTL unit in real time in this YouTube video.

The one-time cost for a PORTL unit is for the hardware and software, and installation and training. In the future there will be new software add-ons to purchase when available.

For the StoryFile AI version - a customized experience – also involves creating the interviews and hologram, and programming the AI. Again, the company expect that this will also be a one-time fee.

If you have got to have one of these devices but you do not think that you have the space, do not worry. In 2021 the company plans to release a 3ft tall mini version of the PORTL unit which could easily fit into your home.

Videoconference calls will never be the same again.

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