|Source: Wikimedia Commons.|
The BBC article by Jonathan Amos, "Hologram messaging coming of age," breaks down the process like this:
1. A series of cameras arranged in a semi-circle take multiple images of a person or object from lots of different angles.
2. The images are fed into a computer, where they are processed and then sent to another computer at a different location
3. A specially designed 3D printing system receives the images and based on the information contained in them, controls a laser that "writes" the images onto a screen made of a special plastic.
4. The special plastic screen can update every two seconds, but a light source is needed to be able to see the changing holograms.
The researchers say that holograms will be useful for manufacturing, to update plans or blueprints as workers are designing new models. I think it has value simply for being cool and for proving to Star Wars geeks that IT COULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN, well at least the hologram part.