PORTL, a Los Angeles-based holographics company, is at the cutting edge of virtual technology with the first-ever device that lets people teleport a hologram of themselves to any location around the world and interact with people there in real-time.
While PORTL was only conceived in 2019, its founder and CEO David Nussbaum has been bringing holograms in front of live audiences for over a decade. The entertainment and tech entrepreneur was behind achievements like Jimmy Kimmel’s appearance via hologram at the 2014 CMA Awards and the posthumous performances of digitally resurrected of Latin music stars Juan Gabriel and Jenni Rivera.
HYPEBEAST visited the PORTL office in New York City to try out the experience and gain insight on how the company is advancing holoportation. During the visit, Nussbaum provided details on how the futuristic technology works.
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“We can beam anybody from anywhere to anywhere,” Nussbaum told HYPEBEAST. “And the person being beamed in can hear, see and completely interact with whoever that person is being beamed in front of in 4k volumetric resolution.”
The device is a sleek rectangular box featuring a high-resolution flat-screen monitor. From across the room, a studio kit features a camera, lighting, and white backdrop setup. Appearing in front of the camera holoports a person — in this demonstration, across the room — rendering their 7-foot telepresence on the PORTL Epic.
“There’s an audience-facing camera that’s embedded in every single PORTL that sees the audience you’re being beamed in front of so that the person being beamed in who is being materialized will be able to see through the return-feed camera,” Nussbaum said.
Each PORTL is completely self-contained, making it the only hologram projection device that doesn’t require any external pieces or wiring. Wheel the device into a room, plug it in and it’s ready for transmission.
There are over 100 PORTLs out in over a dozen countries being utilized in a variety of industries. Hologram technology’s popularization is mostly linked to transmitting artists for musical performances, but Nussbaum wants people to expand their ideas of what the technology can be used for. He cited the example of a medical school that uses their PORTL Epic to teach classes, and how the machine can be used to not only display people but also inanimate things, like a medical diagram or a product in a store.
At the Watches and Wonders trade show in April, IWC CEO Christoph Grainger-Herr and watchmaker Kurt Klaus used PORTL to beam into the Shanghai trade show from Switzerland as 4K holograms to present the 2021 collection and answer questions from buyers.
The company also has PORTL Mini in the works, a device for home use that’s one-fifth the size of the Epic model.
“It should be for everybody, so that’s what my purpose was when I developed these,” Nussbaum said. “Eventually, PORTLs are going in the home. This is the future of broadcast and communication.”
Portl most recently worked with Migos for the launch of Culture III – learn more about it here.