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How is VNTANA Creating Social Augmented Reality with Hologram Technology?

When fans wit­nessed the late rap­per Tupac Shakur appear­ing onstage with the still very alive Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre at Coachel­la back in 2012, there were prob­a­bly more than a few of them who thought they were hav­ing a Wood­stock “don’t eat the brown acid” moment. How­ev­er good or bad the drugs were at the fes­ti­val, how­ev­er, they weren’t respon­si­ble for see­ing a long-dead artist per­form­ing on stage. It was a holo­gram, and it was real­ly cool.

3D holo­grams have been part of our imag­i­na­tion and sci-fi cul­ture for decades. At this point it’s noth­ing spe­cial to see a movie where the bad guy thinks he’s got the drop on the good guy, only to find out he’s actu­al­ly shoot­ing at a holo­gram instead. But that’s the movies. See­ing Tupac rap­ping more than 15 years after his death is real life — sort of, any­way. And since then there have been oth­er pop cul­ture stunts with holo­grams as well.

Now a com­pa­ny is bring­ing the holo­gram expe­ri­ence to the mass­es in a very cool way. VNTANA cre­at­ed their tech­nol­o­gy by hack­ing a first gen­er­a­tion Microsoft Kinect a few years ago. Then they sent a video of what they’d done to the Red­mond tech giant and wound up get­ting some seri­ous back­ing for their ven­ture. Now they’re the lead­ers in social aug­ment­ed real­i­ty, a term many may not be famil­iar with just yet. But they will be soon.

VNTANA has cre­at­ed a real­ly cool prod­uct that uses AR holo­grams to let peo­ple vir­tu­al­ly inter­act with celebri­ties called Hol­la­grams, receive a record­ing of the event, and then share it on social chan­nels. To the casu­al view­er it looks like a video of an actu­al inter­ac­tion between their friend and the celebri­ty. Mer­cedes used the nifty idea to let fans (vir­tu­al­ly) serve a ball on Roger Fed­er­er at the 2015 US Open. Three time Gram­my win­ner and Match­box 20 front man Rob Thomas let fans karaoke with him on his sum­mer tour that wrapped up last Sep­tem­ber, and played with the idea of hav­ing his band mates show up in a holo­gram on stage to play a few tracks dur­ing his solo per­for­mance. And things are just get­ting warmed up.

Right now VNTANA is focus­ing on the social space, because that’s where crit­i­cal mass can be achieved quick­ly and that’s where brands — the pri­ma­ry tar­get clients for VNTANA — are focus­ing their ener­gy as well. But the pos­si­ble uses for their tech­nol­o­gy are vir­tu­al­ly — no pun intend­ed — end­less. An inter­ac­tive, holo­graph­ic instruc­tor is infi­nite­ly more inter­est­ing than a video call for a class­room or train­ing ses­sion, for exam­ple. And of course the abil­i­ty for SpecOps to draw out a sniper’s loca­tion using a holo­graph­ic decoy should­n’t be down­played either.

Yet with all of the var­i­ous pos­si­bil­i­ties, per­haps the most inter­est­ing by far is the pos­si­bil­i­ty of com­bin­ing an inter­ac­tive, holo­graph­ic image with an arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence. Maybe teach­ers and instruc­tors could be all but replaced. Our vir­tu­al assis­tants could take on a whole new lev­el. Again, end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties. So if you’re in the VR/AR/AI world and look­ing for a dif­fer­ent way to go, you might look into VNTANA.

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