Image credit: Microsoft

What you need to know

  • Microsoft showed off a combination of holoportation and translation at Microsoft Inspire.
  • The demo used several Azure services to translate English to Japanese sound as if it was from the original speaker.
  • Windows Mixed Reality was used to capture and render a hologram of the speaker.

Microsoft showed off an impressive combination of technologies at Microsoft Inspire (via ZDNet). During a demo, Azure Corporate Vice President Julia White used a HoloLens 2 to present a keynote in Japanese using her own voice. The hologram was captured and rendered using Windows Mixed Reality and scaled up to appear lifesize. White's demonstration also used a combination of Azure services to translate her keynote speech into Japanese while maintaining her own voice's tone and inflections.

Azure speech-to-text, Azure Speech Translation, and neural text-to-speech worked in conjunction to deliver an English to Japanese translation delivered in an artificial voice created to sound as if White was speaking Japanese herself. This text-to-speech service is available in more 45 languages for standard voices and can also be used to create neural voices. The custom neural voices synthesize different units of speech to create a computer voice.

Holoportation has been shown off by Microsoft before. It takes a full 3-D model of a person and places them into a mixed reality environment. It can be used to make it seem as if a person was in a room from miles away.

You can watch the demonstration on Microsoft's Inspire website. The holoportation and translation demonstration begins around the 32-minute mark. White concluded her demonstration by stating that "all of these technologies exist today" to emphasize that the feats were accomplished with current technology.

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