The 'hologram' that allowed murdered rapper Tupac Shakur to steal the show at the Coachella music festival was a mere theatre trick that has existed for over 150 years.
Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre wowed the crowd as they danced and sang alongside their fallen friend last week with what was described by the projection company responsible for the stunt, AV Concepts, as holographic technology.
"Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi" ... holograms have existed in science and popular fiction alike for almost half a century.
This illusion involves an image being projected onto a transparent sheet, known as mylar film, using high-definition video projectors, which are reflected off mirrors below the stage. As long as the stage lighting carefully avoided the plastic film, spectators were unaware that they were watching Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre through a screen.
"Tupac had as much depth as any other 2D projection - none - and the illusion only worked because the audience was too far back to see this," said Dr Turner.
AV Concepts CEO Nick Smith admits on the company's website that the technology "is not 3D and not holographic, it gives you ... an illusion of that".
Coachella music fans dance as DJ Girl Talk (aka Gregg Michael Gillis) performs. Photo: Getty Images
"Everything else on their website has 'holographic' splashed all over it ... they were certainly under no illusions as to how the thing actually works," Dr Turner told Fairfax Media.
The distinction between this illusion and real holography is that a projection will record an image, whereas a hologram will record the full wavefield of light falling upon it.
Similarly, a 3D TV merely creates the illusion of depth but lacks 'parallax' - the apparent difference of an object when observed from different viewpoints.
The hologram that wasn't ... a digital projection of Tupac at Cochella. Photo: Getty Images
"Deep down your brain knows that it's getting a pretty cheesy illusion ... In a hologram, as in real life, what you see depends on where you look from," said Dr Turner.
So why opt for a cheap trick instead of the real thing?
Holographic technology is still extremely expensive and data-intensive, despite having existed in labs and in science-fiction since the early 1960s.
"The technology works very well, but we haven't yet worked out how to build it into our digital world," said Dr Turner.
The most obvious use for holographic technology in the future is for video calls. "Eventually it would be indistinguishable from being there," said Dr Turner.
However, a single holographic video call on a one-square-metre portal would require a data rate of approximately 200 terabits per second, which is two million times the maximum speed provided by the National Broadband Network.
The current world record for data transfer speed is 109 terabits per second over a single fibre optic cable, held by the National Institute of Information and Communications in Tokyo. This kind of speed is obviously extremely uncommon and still only half the speed required for a holographic video call.
But the future is not all bleak according to Dr Turner.
"There's little doubt that as bandwidth expands, technologies such as holography will be there to make great use of it".