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Do you believe in Ghosts? What will it mean to merge Visual and Acoustic Holograms?

Imag­ine today is your Col­lege grad­u­a­tion, you’ve strug­gled, emo­tion­al­ly, and aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly to get to this point. You’ve always wished mom could be there to see it hap­pen but she passed away dur­ing your High School senior year. You walk up to the podi­um as they call your name and your moth­er appears before you just like you remem­ber, she tells you she loves you and that she is very proud of you, then she hands you your diplo­ma, which you take from her and she pro­ceeds to give you a hug that feels elec­tric, warm and firm. You are in awe, she fades away and then you pro­ceed to your seat as the next grad­u­ate replaces you at the podium.

Weird? No, not at all. All of the tech­nol­o­gy to res­ur­rect the past and give them phys­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics and capa­bil­i­ties is being imple­ment­ed as you read this. There has been a leap in progress on a thing called trac­tor beams, you may have heard the term used in Sci­ence Fic­tion like Star Wars or Star Trek, but believe it or not the sci­ence has actu­al­ly made the con­cept of trans­port­ing objects with pre­ci­sion through a medi­um with the use of direct­ed beams of ener­gy pos­si­ble. Sci­en­tists had already been work­ing on mod­els that can push tiny objects small dis­tances using light, but a new ver­sion of a trac­tor beam uses sound instead.

In a new­ly pub­lished paper in Nature Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, researchers fig­ured out a way to manip­u­late a tiny phys­i­cal object using what they call, acoustic holo­grams. It uses a tiny grid of loud­speak­ers to lev­i­tate, rotate, and oth­er­wise manip­u­late a tiny sphere in midair, an acoustic trac­tor beam. They did this by pro­gram­ming the speak­ers to send out high inten­si­ty sounds that cre­ate a field of force around the object.

Oth­er vari­a­tions of their mod­el involve cre­at­ing a twister-like cone of sound that can suck an object up into the heart of the beam. Pre­vi­ous research cre­at­ed an acoustic trac­tor beam that could work under­wa­ter, but this new research only needs air.

So basi­cal­ly this is part one of the imag­ined sto­ry I opened the arti­cle with, here’s part two.

Bev­er­ly Hills based, Holo­gram USA, a tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­ny that spe­cial­izes in visu­al recre­ations of celebri­ties, announced that it would use the like­ness­es of Andy Kauf­man and Redd Foxx and parts of their pre­vi­ous­ly record­ed rou­tines to cre­ate holo­gram shows that will be pre­sent­ed across the coun­try as holo­graph­ic com­e­dy tour next year. Holo­gram USA has pre­vi­ous­ly cre­at­ed pro­jec­tions of the Wik­iLeaks founder Julian Assange and the late-night come­di­an Jim­my Kim­mel. Mr. David said these holo­grams were no dif­fer­ent from oth­er forms of non­fic­tion storytelling.

Alki David, a bil­lion­aire entre­pre­neur, the founder and chief exec­u­tive of Holo­gram USA said about Foxx and Kauf­man, “both of them influ­enced so many come­di­ans after them,.. they’re com­e­dy icons.” He also made clear in an inter­view that the com­pa­ny is “work­ing with oth­er estates of famous fun­ny guys and fun­ny girls, these just hap­pened to be amenable estates who see the vision.” Michael Kauf­man, the comedian’s broth­er and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of his estate, said in an inter­view that the holo­gram show was “the right plat­form for the new gen­er­a­tion of audi­ences to expe­ri­ence Andy.”

The shows offer fans fresh oppor­tu­ni­ties to see the work of artists who each had a sig­nif­i­cant impact on com­e­dy but have been out of the cul­tur­al con­scious­ness for decades. Mr. David said these shows “will have res­i­den­cies in mul­ti­ple loca­tions in tourist-ori­ent­ed cities across the coun­try.” The com­pa­ny is prepar­ing holo­graph­ic ver­sions of Bil­lie Hol­i­day to per­form at the Apol­lo The­ater in Harlem, and of Whit­ney Hous­ton for a world­wide con­cert tour next year. It is also work­ing with the Nation­al Com­e­dy Cen­ter, an attrac­tion being built in Jamestown, N.Y.

So it turns out that the media world is all about bring­ing back the dead. Why have it lim­it­ed to just super­stars right? Pret­ty soon the soft­ware will exist to scan any two dimen­sion­al image of a per­son and mod­el a 3D fig­ure in their like­ness (see arti­cle on mat­ter­port). When you com­bine this visu­al holo­graph­ic tech­nol­o­gy with acoustic trac­tor beams into a mobile plat­form that could be placed in stores, stages, parks, side­walks. You are cre­at­ing a media out­let unlike any that has ever been seen before. The researchers think this del­i­cate manip­u­la­tion might one day be used to cre­ate sound-based assem­bly lines or help manip­u­late drugs in a patien­t’s body.

Now when these two fac­tors; Acoustic Trac­tor Holo­grams and Visu­al Holo­grams are merged togeth­er, you are cor­rupt­ing our sense of what’s real. If you go the extra mile and com­bine these oth­er ele­ments like Holo­grams that you can feel, and how Smart­phones will be gen­er­at­ing tac­tile holo­grams as well. Prepare!

This will make Ghosts a com­mon day reality.


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