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Friday, June 24, 2022

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WATCH: 2022: The year of avatars and holograms instead of live people

Published Jun 7, 2022


Who can forget the famous words of Princess Leia in Star Wars: A New Hope: “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope”. The year the movie was released was 1977 and her words in a hologram, were projected from the droid R2D2.

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This week in London the stuff of science fiction has come to life not on one but on two world stages where holograms are being used instead of people. On Sunday, as the ailing Queen skipped the Platinum Jubilee Pageant parade, people did a double-take when they saw a young Queen Elizabeth waving to them from the Gold Stage Coach, and gliding past during the parade.

WATCH: The hologram of the Queen on the golden carriage

The much younger version of the 96-year-old monarch was projected onto the windows of the coach that made its way through a parade on the streets, while she herself was not there.

This occurrence marked the second in one week where famous people have stood down from live engagements and, instead, sent their avatars to do the work.

On Friday another big stage is being gifted with a hologram instead of the real thing. Swedish pop legends ABBA return to the concert stage in London... only as avatars of their 1970s selves shimmering with all the regalia from that era.

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BangShowbiz reports that while fans will hear the quartet’s real voices, the band will not be on stage. Concert-goers will see "ABBAtars" projected as holograms, looking like they did at the peak of their fame.


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The world of concert holograms have certainly not captured the fans in the past, however ABBA is optimistic.

“This is one of the most daring projects that anyone has done in the music industry ever,” says Bjorn Ulvaeus, who wrote most of the group's biggest hits with Benny Andersson. ABBA themselves, however, ”don’t have a clue“ how the audience will react.

For a long time, techies and scientists have been looking at ways to blend physical realities with virtual ones.

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Holograms are one way to achieve this as they allow users to project 3D images on a physical surface and simulate virtual designs in real-world surroundings.

Interactive holograms - which open an entirely new type of prospect for the use of holograms - was also once a thing only of science fiction.

However, scientists have now created holograms that you can touch and with whom you can shake hands with. How do they do this? Researchers at the University of Glasgow use jets of air known as 'aerohaptics' to simulate the feeling of touch.

It is an exciting world and things once only dreamed of are becoming a reality. With that brings ethical questions to the world of technology and science.

In the meantime however, let us take some words of wisdom from Obi-Wan Kenobi: “Your eyes can deceive you; don’t trust them.”