Manchester

Manchester Airport unveils holographic security guards

Manchester Airport has become the first in the UK to introduce a pair of virtual guards to their security team.

Holograms John and Julie are being installed in the airport's Terminal 1 to help reduce security queues.

The duo, made using films of actual staff John Walsh and Julie Capper, use the same technology that brings animated band Gorillaz to live stages.

Ms Capper said she was hoping she would "be able to rely on my virtual self to carry some of my workload".

The holograms use a surface manufactured to retain maximum transparency and strength, which the manufacturer claims is better than a glass mirror and allows the screening high definition video at high quality.

The technology has been developed by multimedia entertainment company, Musion, whose founder James Rock said it had been "developed for many uses but it's perfectly suited for an airport environment".

He said that while it had been used mostly in an entertainment context so far, including supplying Simon Cowell with a hologram of Frank Sinatra to perform at his birthday party, he would "like to see its widespread use for practical purposes like the virtual assistants".

The holograms have been installed at the entrance to the security search area of Terminal 1 to explain about liquid restrictions and to remind passengers to have boarding cards ready.

Mr Walsh said that the restrictions "remain an area of confusion and it's something we still have to spend a lot of time reminding our passengers".

Staff explanations of the regulations "can slow the process down for everyone and that's something we want to find a solution to", he added.

Ms Capper believes the new addition will speed up the security in the terminal.

"If our holograms help our passengers through the process even quicker, then it will be a good thing," she said.

"I have to say it's strange to see yourself in virtual form and I'm hoping that I'll be able to rely on my virtual self to carry some of my workload.

"I wonder if I can send it to meetings in my place and whether anyone will notice."

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