Members of the U.S. Marine Corps are in line to be some of the first users of holographic imaging technology on a private 5G network. Marine Corps Logistics Command in Albany, Georgia, is the site of the 5G testbed the DoD is developing using CBRS spectrum in partnership with Federated Wireless. Some of the first applications to launch on the network will enable Marines to see inside crates without opening them and navigate the warehouses using 3D imagery.

“One of the things we can do with the military is really push the limits of just how much visualization you can get,” said Taylor Scott, founder and CTO of IKIN, a company working to bring holograms to the masses. Scott developed a way to miniaturize holograms and project them in ambient light, so that people can create and share holograms without goggles or headsets.

“It is a unique display system that attaches to the side of your phone,” Scott explained. IKIN’s device is called RYZ, and its software is meant to integrate seamlessly with a smartphone OS. “The minute that you plug your phone into the RYZ, our software will convert your videos, your photos to where you can actually experience things in the hologram,” said Scott.will

For the Marines, one of the most compelling aspects of the technology is what Scott calls “X-ray vision.” Users will be able to point their phones at closed boxes, see the contents and send the information to others.

“The government has really got a big push to deploy 5G … so they’re looking for applications,” said IKIN CEO Joe Ward. “The first use cases are the military warehouses.”

IKIN developed its technology to work with 4G or 5G networks, but the capabilities are optimized in 5G. “We have to actually utilize 5G in a unique way to where the translation process has to occur simultaneous to the capture functions,” said Scott. But application developers who want to incorporate IKIN’s holograms won’t necessarily have to learn all of that. “The holographic is generated intelligently,” said Scott. “Adding our code creates the hologram for you.

“The use and the incorporation of this artificial intelligence allows us to embed this as essentially a sub-core function of almost any processor on the planet,” said Scott. “Now we are able to throttle based on what your bandwidth is, what your network capabilities are, what the processing capabilities are. We can change the priorities of processing based on what’s necessary for each application.”

The applications IKIN envisions for its technology line up with several of the industries wireless equipment makers are targeting for private networks. In addition to logistics, IKIN is targeting education, retail and healthcare. One healthcare provider is already testing the technology. “Now we can push the boundaries of real-time diagnostics,” said Scott. “This is why 5G is so fantastic.” Just as Princess Leia famously projected herself to ask Obi-Wan Kenobi for help, patients may one day send holograms to doctors miles away.

The Marines’ first deployment of the technology is expected to take place in mid-2021. IKIN found its way to the DoD’s 5G testbed through Capstone Partners, a strategic advisory firm that has partnered with Federated Wireless to help the vendor identify promising 5G and IoT applications for CBRS networks. Capstone Partners is led by Allen Proithis, a wireless industry veteran who previously led Sigfox’s North American operations.

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