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PoCo firm creates world’s largest hologram

By Eric MacKenzie

Microsoft’s HoloLens technology was used to create to scale a semi-truck.

Microsoft’s HoloLens technology was used to create to scale a semi-truck. SUBMITTED

A B.C. company that built the world’s largest hologram appears poised to help shape how the three-dimensional technology is used in industrial applications.

Finger Food Studios is one of the first developers using Microsoft’s HoloLens technology — creating to scale a semi-truck hologram in its Port Coquitlam warehouse “Holodeck” as it works with Washington-based truck manufacturing giant Paccar on new approaches to vehicle design.

And after Finger Food’s work was put in the spotlight during this week’s Emerging Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference in Vancouver, CEO Ryan Peterson said his company is having its “Star Wars moment.”

“We actually have the opportunity to be kind of the Industrial Light & Magic of the holographic era in Vancouver with the work we’re doing,” said Ryan Peterson, referring to the visual effects company George Lucas founded prior to the 1977 film’s production.

“People from around the world are taking notice of the work we’re doing and it’s really transforming our business.”

Finger Food demonstrated the work it’s been doing with Paccar and has announced plans to hire 100 employees during the conference. Whereas past approaches to truck design in 3D involved physical models being placed in wind tunnels to test aerodynamics, the company’s hologram increases the productivity of that process.

“You can go from drawing your concept out to seeing it in 3D with the press of a button, which is really amazing,” said Peterson. “And more importantly, you get to see it at scale. I think that’s the real massive part of the enhancement.”

Finger Food is working with other top global companies, Peterson said, on projects that are still under wraps.

Peterson expects consumer products using virtual and augmented reality technology will become widespread within four to 10 years, but there’s a “real opportunity” in the industrial sector already that Finger Food is looking to capitalize upon.

“You can work at Microsoft to build the tools, or you can work here to build the applications,” he said. “Those are really the two spots in the world to do what we’re doing right now.”