British Airports Put Holograms To Work

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The new holographic helpers remind passengers about restrictions on liquids and other security procedures. They're actually high-definition images of real employees, projected onto flat, transparent material.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our last word in business today comes from Holly.

HOLLY: Hello, and welcome to London Luton Airport. Security checks can take time, but your safety is our priority.

MONTAGNE: She's an assistant at this British airport. Her job is to remind passengers about restrictions on liquids and other security procedures.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Oh, and by the way, Holly is a hologram.

HEATHER: They're a few things you can do now to speed up the process. (Unintelligible)...

SHAPIRO: And that's heather, the new holographic helper at another airport. British airports have deployed several of these virtual workers this year. They're actually high definition images of real employees projected onto flat transparent material. If you walk around to the side you can see it's flat, but walk in front and they're almost lifelike enough - airport officials hope, anyway - to catch people's attention.

MONTAGNE: One airport official says he'd like to deploy holographic helpers in other areas, like immigration, and we may one day interact with them as well. Actually, being patted down by a hologram would be an improvement, wouldn't it, Ari?

SHAPIRO: I think so.

MONTAGNE: I think so. Well, that's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

SHAPIRO: And I'm Ari Shapiro.

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