MPI trialling hologram tech at Auckland International Airport

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The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is trialling new hologram technology to educate international travellers about the importance of biosecurity at the border. 

A prototype hologram will now greet visitors to Auckland International Airport.

The hologram will give a 3D display of biosecurity risk items and explain why we don't want them in New Zealand.

"This is an experiment to test if new technology can be used as a communications tool to reach the public more effectively than our current static signage at the airport," says Brett Hickman, Manager of Detection Technology for MPI. 

The display will show prohibited items, initially focussing on fruit carried inside luggage. The display then follows a hitchhiking fruit fly and the potential damage that it could do to an orchard and the fruit industry. 

"The concept here is to create an eye-catching display that really grabs the attention of arriving passengers," says Mr Hickman.

Mr Hickman says that the hologram display will be housed on top of a purpose-built unit that doubles as an amnesty bin for visitors to dispose of any potential biosecurity risk goods they may still be carrying in hand luggage. 

"So not only will it be a communications tool, it has a practical use for collecting last minute items that aren't allowed into the country."

The hologram will undergo a 6-month trial at the airport in a range of locations within the arrivals area. MPI will monitor how many people stop to look at the display, as well as how much biosecurity material is placed into the unit's amnesty bin to understand the viability of the trial. 

This is the first initiative to be launched under MPI's Research, Technology and Innovation (RTI ) Practice.

The RTI Practice has been established by MPI to test emerging technologies. The hologram is the first of several concepts to be taken to prototype stage for testing. 

The hologram is developed by Wellington company Point Zero who specialise in holographic display technology.

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