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Students attend ‘world’s first’ live hologram lecture at Imperial College London

The 3D life-size images of speakers in Los Angeles and New York appeared on stage in the groundbreaking event.

Imperial College London will start offering lectures with live holographic guests after debuting the technology to students on Thursday evening.

The 3D life-size images of speakers in Los Angeles and New York appeared on stage at the university’s business school for a talk on women in technology, allowing the audience to ask questions as though they were in the same room.

Studios have been set up in a number of global locations including the US, Canada and Singapore, opening up the possibility of securing more influential industry speakers.

It also means academics can continue teaching lectures when they are out of the country.

The university claims it is the first in the world to offer live lectures via hologram.

“Introducing hologram technology to the classroom will break down the limitations of traditional teaching by creating an interactive experience that benefits both students and academics,” said Dr David Lefevre, director of the Edtech Lab at Imperial College Business School, which adapted the technology with Toronto based hologram company AHRT Media.

“Rather than replacing or reducing real-life lectures, the hologram technology will provide greater flexibility for academics by enabling them to continue teaching whilst travelling, ensuring consistency and quality for students.

“The technology will also widen the scope for Imperial to invite global leaders and influencers from industry to give talks to students, therefore enriching the learning experience.”

The first lecture to use the holographic technology on Thursday evening featured Google Woman of the Year 2018 Marily Nika, Women in Tech Summit co-founder Tracey Welson-Rossman and Diane Morgan, who runs the Forte Foundation, a non-profit organisation that helps women’s progression within business through access to education.

“Investing in new technology is a vital part of our strategy to create more flexible and inspiring learning experiences for our students,” said Professor Francisco Veloso, dean of Imperial College Business School.

“Being part of Imperial College London, we are keen to grow our digital visibility as a business school and the new hologram represents the pioneering work our Edtech Lab is undertaking in this area.”

In September, Vodafone demonstrated how 5G mobile technology could be used to make live holographic calls in the near-future due to the improved mobile connection speeds it has the potential to offer.

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