R2-D2's Princess Leia 'Help me, Obi-Wan!' hologram is now REAL

Contributed by
Default contributor image
Scott Edelman
Dec 14, 2012

While George Lucas has been busy creating a bazillion different special editions, scientists have gone ahead and done something truly special by making an important Star Wars moment real—specifically, that holographic projection of Princess Leia that uttered the famous line "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."

Michael Bove of the MIT Media Lab hacked the camera sensor from a Kinect gesture-recognition system and drafted a graduate student dressed up as Princess Leia to spout the familiar plea.

As reported in New Scientist:

Bove's group started with an array of 16 low-resolution infrared cameras, spaced evenly along a metre-long line. Computer processing combined the images to generate the data needed for the 3D holographic projector at the rate of 15 frames per second.

The next step came in late December when they bought their first Kinect, and hacked the camera system made by PrimeSense of Israel, which records three-dimensional profiles by projecting a grid of laser light onto a scene. This approach, called structured light, yields resolution of 640 by 480 pixels, three times higher than each infrared camera. That was good enough to record the holographic Princess Leia scene shown here.

Check out the result below.

Yeah, it's a bit fuzzy. But still, we somehow feel compelled to go to her rescue ...

How about you?