Microsoft has already introduced its Hololens mixed reality gaming system that lets you fight virtual zombies in your living room. And now they're introducing an additional feature of the hardware called holoportation.
Holoportation lets people virtually teleport to different places in real-time. Both people wear a Hololens headset (which will cost around $3,000) and they can both see each other in 3D, and can interact with each other as though they were both present in the same space. It's nuts.
Microsoft Research reported that, "When combined with mixed reality displays such as HoloLens, this technology allows users to see, hear, and interact with remote participants in 3D as if they are actually present in the same physical space. Communicating and interacting with remote users becomes just as natural as face-to-face communication." How cool is that people?
It does however mean that you need to be surrounded by 3D cameras which capture your image from various viewpoints. That data is then fused together, compressed, and transmitted to someplace else or wherever you want to replicate your virtual self.
As well as the real-time application you can also record some of the holoportation exchange and it can be shrunk and played back projected, say, on a table just like Leia in Star Wars.
It's early days for the technology which it still a little glitchy, but it's an indication of what will probably replace video chats as a way to talk and interact with friends, family, or whoever long distance.
Suddenly the holodeck in Star Trek is not such a futuristic fantasy anymore.