Credit: Rick Uilkema, DesignLab

A 3-D hologram projection of a coach, to support physical and mental wellbeing: over the last few months, DesignLab has been working on the design and hardware for a prototype HoloProjector for virtual coaches, together with researchers Hermie Hermens, Dennis Reidsma and programme manager Monique Tabak of the University of Twente. The software originates from project partners of the European Council of Coaches, aimed at changing the way coaching is perceived. Students revealed the prototype at DesignLab on 11 March.

At first glance, the prototype of the HoloProjector could be described as a pyramid-shaped aquarium. At its core is , a 3-D illusion. Whereas a hologram is often used for entertainment, this design represents a serious purpose. "The HoloProjector is a showcase for virtual applications and moreover, an opportunity to study the effect of innovative coaching via hologram technology," says Hermie Hermens, professor and figurehead of the research programme Personalized eHealth Technology of the University of Twente.

The commissioning authority for the project—Council of Coaches—is examining how it could utilise several coaches for personal advice on healthy living and wellbeing. The HoloProjector can display one of these coaches, or the group of coaches engaging in discussion. The user can walk around the hologram and listen to the different coaches' views. People interact with their 'holo-coaches' via buttons, sounds and various interfaces.

How can the HoloProjector be used? Researcher Reidsma says the HoloProjector offers opportunities to "provide further insight into the study of virtual coaches." Programme manager Tabak adds: "The HoloProjector allows us to test the effectiveness of hologram coaching. We feel it is more akin to a 'real' coach in terms of interaction, compared to standard coaching apps or telephone , for example. As such, this HoloProjector will play a role in further eHealth research, in which we focus on treatment methods in home settings."

Student project leader Denisa-Valentina Licu—on behalf of the DreamTeam responsible for the hardware, at DesignLab—predicts even more possibilities: "This HoloProjector can display all sorts of content: from one person to elaborate scenes. I foresee additional advantages in more wide-ranging applicability: this is useful from advertising to health, and entertainment to research."

  • Credit: Rick Uilkema, DesignLab

  • Credit: Rick Uilkema, DesignLab