From Beyonce to TuPac to CNN correspondents, it seems as though everyone in the media and entertainment elite have been trying their hand at bringing holograms to the mainstream. Usually, pulling this off is production intensive, and the results can be mixed. Now, one LA-based startup is trying to make holograms more accessible.
8i, which makes virtual reality videos at its Culver City studios, revealed last month at Recode’s Code Media conference that the company is working on a mobile app that puts “volumetric” holograms right on your smartphone. The idea is that you’d use the app, called Holo, to interact with well-known celebrities — or even just cute pets — in a way that you can’t really do on a smartphone right now. You can “place” the hologram in the room. You can walk around it. You can even take a selfie with it. And it doesn’t involve a VR headset.
The Verge’s Lauren Goode wrote about 8i’s new technology last month.
There is a catch to all this, though: The Holo app still requires users to have a pretty heavy-duty smartphone in hand, one that meets the Google Tango hardware and software requirements. These phones have a multitude of cameras and sensors built into the phone that make running the Holo app possible, and right now there’s only one phone model available that runs Google Tango, the $500 mid-range Lenovo Phab 2 Pro.
And, as Goode found out, actually making the hologram still involves a fair amount of production, including a 41-camera green-screen studio and high-end editing software. But the end result is a holographic representation of yourself that looks and sounds exactly like you — maybe, as Goode admits, just a little bit nerdier.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.