Telstra "hologram" media stunt

The big news in "science" media at the moment is Telstra's latest media stunt: transmitting a "hologram" from Melbourne to Adelaide.

Another fine example of mainstream media engaged in sensationalism, an absence of basic research, and essentially, rumour-mongering. Even ITWire, a site that purports to have news targeting technology enthusiasts can't get it right.

So what was wrong with what the media reported? Well, the truth in the matter is that the image you saw of Dr Hugh Bradlow was in fact, not a hologram. It was simply a projection onto a thin film of transparent material. Technologically, no different to a data projector at a conference projecting onto the white drop-down screen.

To be a hologram, the projected object needs to be three dimensional. A mere projection onto a screen is two dimensional. It exists on a surface only, and has no depth.

Telstra's media stunt was fantastic. Sure, it wasn't actually a hologram, but the media reported it as such -- and generated massive publicity for Telstra. It worked so well because of the media's incompetence. Telstra says "hologram!" and the media shouts "where??".

"Technology" journalists then conjure up images of star wars holograms they saw in movies, and "report" on this "technological advancement". Some of the media outlets even reported Bradlow's projection as being three dimensional!

Excellent coverage there, mainstream media. I can't wait for the next media stunt a company pulls to be reported.


Submitted by Dave on Wed 28/05/2008 - 22:39

Well, FuelWatch is just around the corner :P