Was That a Real Hologram on CNN?

Jessica Yellin was in Chicago while talking to anchor Wolf Blitzer in the CNN studio in what was pitched as a hologram. Almost.

A live hologram-like presentation of reporter Jessica Yellin was used in election coverage on CNN. Yellin was in Chicago covering the Obama campaign, and CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer was back in the studio.

Yellin describes her 'hologram' experience:

"There are thirty-five high-definition cameras ringing me, in a ring around me, I'm in the center, and they shoot my body in different angles and I'm told that transmits what looks like an entire body image back to New York. I'm told that these cameras 'talk' to the cameras in New York so they know to move when the cameras in New York move...

The CNN special effect is not a hologram. A true hologram is a technique that gathers laser light scattered from an object, and then presents it in a way that appears truly three-dimensional.

Even though this is not a true hologram, the technique does show a three-dimensional simulacrum of a person. As such, it reminds me very strongly of the telestereo, a long-distance 3D display described by sf great Edmund Hamilton in his 1928 classic Crashing Suns. Note that the image of the person is depicted as standing on a disk - that's just the way CNN did it (see the CNN hologram video)!

"The telestereo," I said to Hal Kur. "Take the controls." As he did so I stepped over to the telestereo's glass disk, inset in the room's floor, and touched a switch beside it. Instantly there appeared standing upon the disk, the image of a man in the blue and white robe of the Supreme Council, a lifesize and moving and stereoscopically perfect image, flashed across the void of space to my apparatus by means of etheric vibrations. (Read more about Edmund Hamilton's telestereo)

This use of technology reminded many viewers of the 3D presentation of Princess Leia in Star Wars. "Help me, Wolf. You're my only hope!' (Apologies to George Lucas.)

(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission of Technovelgy.com)

Bill Christensen catalogues the inventions, technology and ideas of science fiction writers at his website, Technovelgy. He is a contributor to Live Science.