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New hologram technology brings 3-D to life

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Executives may not be able to beam a full three-dimensional image of themselves across the world just yet but researchers are a step closer to 3-D real-time images, an advance in holographic technology that could make video conferencing far more lifelike.

Nasser Peyghambarian of the University of Arizona and colleagues said on Wednesday their new holographic technology can project a near 360-degree image to another location that updates every two seconds.

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Known as three-dimensional telepresence, the technology addresses shortcomings of current holograms, which give the illusion of 3-D but leave out the rear view, said Peyghambarian, whose study appears in the journal Nature.

“If you look at the 3-D object, we show it is very much like if you look around you. It’s the closest to what you see compared to any other technology,” Peyghambarian, who also holds a position at the National Science Foundation, said on a telephone briefing.

He said the earliest use of the technology could be in movies, given the popularity of 3-D films such as “Avatar.”

“We foresee many applications, including for example, car or airplane manufacturing. They can look at the hologram and design the system they have in real-time and look at the model and make changes on it as they go,” Peyghambarian told the briefing.

Surgeons around the world also could participate in complex operations at the same time, he said.

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To create the hologram, cameras take color images at multiple angles and send them over an Ethernet line. In the lab model, images are projected onto a transparent plastic panel and refreshed every few seconds.

Future displays will lie flat on a table and the system will create an optical illusion that the image is floating above the screen.

The three-dimensional telepresence technology differs from 3-D technology in several ways.

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With 3-D, one perspective is projected to one eye and another perspective is projected to the other, which is why people wear special glasses. With the hologram, no special glasses are needed and the number of perspectives is only limited by the number of cameras used.

In a videoconference, this means people sitting on one side of a table see the front of a person, people on the side would get a side view and people in the back would see their back.

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The technology builds on earlier work by the same group, which in 2008 reported a black and white 3-D image that could be updated every four minutes.

The new system is more than 100 times faster.

“This breakthrough opens new opportunities for optics as a means to transport images in real time,” Lynn Preston, director of the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Centers program, said in a statement.

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Peyghambarian said the team still needs to work out some issues, including improving the screen and reducing the system’s power demands, which will take about two years.

It will be far longer before the system can be used by ordinary consumers.

“I don’t think you can see these in our houses in less than seven to 10 years,” he said.

(Editing by Maggie Fox and Bill Trott)

Source: Reuters US Online Report Technology News

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New Zealand may postpone general election after 4 test positive for COVID-19: PM Jacinda Ardern

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New Zealand locked down nursing homes nationwide Wednesday after a 102-day streak without the coronavirus ended, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the outbreak could force her to postpone next month's general election.

Ardern said authorities were scrambling to trace anyone who had been in contact with four Auckland residents who tested positive Tuesday, ending the dream run in which the virus had been contained at New Zealand's borders.

A three-day stay-at-home order for Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city with a population of 1.5 million, was announced on Tuesday night and went into force at lunchtime on Wednesday.

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Android phones to get ‘ShakeAlert’ earthquake warnings — and phones may double as tremor detectors

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Android phones will receive warnings triggered by a "ShakeAlert" earthquake early-warning system implemented on the West Coast by the US Geological Survey and partners.

ShakeAlert uses signals from hundreds of seismometers across the state to trigger warning messages that "an earthquake has begun and shaking is imminent," according to the system's website.

"We saw an opportunity to use Android to provide people with timely, helpful earthquake information when they search, as well as a few seconds warning to get themselves and their loved ones to safety if needed," principal software engineer Marc Stogaitis said in a blog post.

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2020 Election

‘Don’t talk about racism, racist’: Trump scorched after claiming Biden-Harris campaign has a ‘racism problem’

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President Donald Trump continued to lash out at Kamala Harris after the California Democrat was chosen to join the 2020 Democratic Party ticket as presumptive nominee Joe Biden's running mate.

At a news conference following the selection, Trump complained about Harris being "nasty."

After 10 p.m. on Monday, Trump tweeted out an attack ad claiming "Joe Biden has a racism problem."

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's line of attack:

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