This New Hologram Tech Will Make You Miss Old-Fashioned Zoom Meetings

Startup technology brand Matsuko promises you can have a three-dimensional holographic presence at meetings with just an app. Hooray?

A hologram image at a meeting via Matsuko, a new startup hologram tech company
Our new hologram overlords will be pleased

For all the issues that come with having a meeting on Zoom — connection issues, Zoom dysmorphia, “you’re on mute,” etc. — it certainly beats whatever Mark Zuckerberg’s idea of putting on headsets and hosting virtual get-togethers in an undefined Metaverse via avatars.

But even that might be better than holograms. As reported by Fast Company, Matsuko — a startup founded by a former AI researcher and an Assassin’s Creed programmer — has created an app that lets people stream 3-D holographic images of themselves via their iPhone camera. If that was all, maybe it’d be cool, but other meeting participants will need to use their phone to see you in AR or use a mixed reality set of glasses like the HoloLens2 (or, soon, the Meta Quest).

Fast Company describes the resulting interaction as “a bit jagged, much like when someone uses a virtual background on Zoom.”

“If these past two years have shown us anything, it is that as humans we need each other’s presence,” said Maria Vircikova, co-founder and CEO of Matsuko. “And even though we have come a long way with remote communication, today’s tools are still way too distant. Our brain is wired for the third dimension, and we need a sensation of people physically being there.”

While holograms like you see in sci-fi films would be an interesting future outcome of this early-stage technology, right now it seems rather impractical to ask every meeting participant to use their phone, app and/or mixed reality glasses just so Nora from Portland can beam in three-dimensionally…a janky 3-D at that. That said, there’s some promise in the hologram space — the previously announced PORTL seems like a fun way to create lifesize (and live) holograms for big events, while Google’s Project Starline promises more of a “mirror-like” hologram experience.

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