University students at Imperial College Business School will be the first in the world to have live lectures delivered to them via hologram.

The technology, developed by Toronto based hologram company AHRT Media and adapted by Imperial College Business School’s pioneering Edtech Lab, will enable faculty and guest speakers to present to students in real time, via a hologram link, from studios located in a variety of global locations including the US, Canada and Singapore.

The hologram will enable lecturers and visiting speakers to appear as 3D, life-size entities within one of Imperial’s lecture theatres. Rather than simply projecting a pre-recorded message, the technology enables those appearing via hologram to engage with their audiences in real-time, responding to audience reactions and taking questions via a camera link in the same manner as if they were physically present in the lecture theatre.

The technology will also make it possible for Imperial College Business School to host lectures in multiple classes and locations simultaneously, as well as discussion panels and round-table events with a mixture of both in-person and virtual speakers present.

Dr David Lefevre, Director of the Edtech Lab at Imperial College Business School said,

“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. 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 hologram is the latest addition to the catalogue of technologies currently employed by Imperial College Business School’s Edtech Lab, to create more effective ways of learning. Other recent innovations include a new robo-tutor, an AI chatbot to support distance-learners on Imperial’s MBA programmes and an online Masters in Business Analytics.

Professor Francisco Veloso, Dean of Imperial College Business School said,

“Investing in new technology is a vital part of our strategy to create more flexible and inspiring learning experiences for our students. 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.”

The hologram technology was debuted on Thursday evening at Imperial College Business School for a special event for Imperial students. The event, “Women in Tech: The Inside Story” welcomed a number of guest speakers via hologram from Los Angeles, New York and London including; Marily Nika – Google Woman of the Year 2018 and Imperial alumna, Tracey Welson-Rossman – Founder of TechGirlz and Co-chair and founder of the Women in Tech Summit, and Diane Morgan – Global MD of Trilogy and member of the Board of Directors at the Forte Foundation.

The hologram will be used to teach students at Imperial College Business School during the current 2018/19 academic year.

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