The Tupac Hologram and the Future of Telepresence

Written by Mike Awada on . Posted in Music, Social Media, Technology

tupac hologram

Tupac Shakur is one of the greatest musicians, lyricists, and performers of all time, and to see him seemingly alive and kickin’ sixteen years after his tragic death is definitely worthy of the world spotlight. The epic performance of Tupac and Snoop Dogg at Coachella in California will live on in history for a number of reasons, but what it really did was shed some light on one of the coolest forms of future technology that could be in our living rooms soon. Holograms and Telepresence are about to become a major part of the way we live our everyday lives. We are nearing an age where will be able to trick ourselves into thinking people and objects are there that aren’t. Here’s the video again if you haven’t seen it.

The performance, and similar ones by Mariah Carey, Nate Dogg, the Black Eyed Peas and the Gorillaz, certainly evoked memories of Edward Norton’s role in the Illusionist. In the film, the whole town is baffled how the magician can recreate what seems to be a living, breathing replica of a deceased Jessica Biel on stage. Believe it or not, the technique has actually been around for over a century! The performance that took place at Coachella yesterday is what’s known as Pepper’s Ghost; named after magician John Henry Pepper all the way back in the 1860′s! Pepper was able to create the effect of a real ghost being on stage.

The immediate real world applications of this technology have to do with business. Everyone thought it was futuristic a few years ago when Cisco came out with the HD telepresence screen. This technology worked in real time, enabling businessmen and women to have a face to face conversation from across the world. Although more efficient and affordable than anything we had in the past, that screen, along with Skyping over the computer, still presented us with a personal disconnect. With Hologram and Telepresence technology, we’ll soon be able to meet with colleagues or potential business partners, and stare them right in the eye. It’s actually already a reality today!

When a 3D image is projected and reflected off of a mirror, an authentic hologram can be created. With improved technology, the quality of the holograms have improved and will continue to do so. It seems inevitable that seeing live holograms in many aspects of life will become the norm. We soon may even be able to see a speaker or artist perform and not even recognize the difference between them and their holographic counterpart!

Imagine the possibilities for increased concert locations and ticket sales for a musician, or the potential limitless reach and safety for a politician! Several internet users have already been quoted as saying that they’d pay to see a full holo-concert. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg are already discussing this possibility!

This technology will inevitably leak down to the consumer, allowing us to share real face time with a constantly traveling father, or a son away to college. The potential cost savings from travel elimination is potentially remarkable as well. 3D is cool and may always have a place, but expect to see Holographic TV shows and sports sometime in the very near future.



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Comments (2)

  • Observer


    This is kind of creepy, it makes me feel despair to view someone who is gone in an animated fashion. There they are and yet, you cannot interact with them, they do not exist.


  • Ryan


    @Observer – I believe the opposite. Strangely enough, seeing the lifelike hologram of someone that is dead is probably comforting or enjoyable for more people than it is painful.


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