Holograms Preserve Memories as Time Takes Its Toll on Holocaust Survivors

February 12, 2013 3:04 pm 0 comments

The infamous sign adorning the entrance to the Auschwitz Nazi death camp.

A hi-tech initiative is aiming to preserve the stories of the Holocaust as the ageing population of survivors diminishes in number.

USC is teaming with the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, and design firm Conscience Display, to develop holograms of survivors telling their stories. The 3-D installations will allow  “students and others [to] converse with the hyper-photorealistic life-size digital versions,” Cnet.com reports.

“The effect that it gives is a lot more that that person is there in the room with you than that person was filmed some time ago somewhere else,” Paul Debevec, a professor of computer science at USC and associate director of graphics research at the school’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) told Cnet. “I think it’s going to be considerably more engaging and immersive and moving than if they’re just up there on a video screen.”

According to Cnet: “The project relies on light-stage technology developed by ICT to record interviews using multiple cameras for high-fidelity playback. ICT has been creating digital versions of people with its Light Stage systems since the year 2000, but researchers are significantly enhancing the technology for the survivor project.”

The article continues, “For example, the USC team is building a Light Stage system that can for the first time holographically record a full body, and do so with more spatial and angular fidelity than the smaller facial-recording system the team has built and used for the project so far.”

Debevec says that the project is going beyond anything done before. “Everything that we’re doing is getting retooled and to some extent reinvented specifically for recording the testimony of a survivor,” he says, “to do it in a way that when we project it holographically, it’s a very absolute literal playback of exactly the way they said it, exactly the way they looked when they were doing it.”

One of the key developments is the authentic feel of the hologram. Audience members, depending on where they’re sitting, will be able to see the virtual survivors from different vantage points, as they would if it was an actual human being sitting in a chair on-stage.

“If you’re sitting [at] the front, you see that person from the front. If you’re sitting to the right, you’ll see them to the right,” Debevec says. “Even as you just shift in your seat and move your head back and forth… the viewpoint will shift then, too, appropriately, and you’ll get an effect called motion parallax, which is even a more strong and visceral sense of the three-dimensionality than you get with binocular stereo.”

An estimated 6 to 10 percent of Holocaust survivors die annually, according to San Francisco’s Tauber Holocaust Library and Education Program, whose data shows that 500,000 Holocaust survivors remain worldwide, with about 120,000 of those residing in the United States. Their average age is estimated to be 79.

“We lose many of our survivors every year,” Debevec says. “We definitely feel the sense of urgency and that realistically it’s going to be now or never.”

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    In a strong statement that challenges the historic divide between Christianity and Judaism, Pope Francis recently proclaimed, “Inside every Christian is a Jew.” But if you look at Renaissance artworks that depict Jesus, you will not find any evidence of a Jew inside the Christianized Jesus — even though the Gospels in the New Testament tell us that Jesus was Jewish to the core. Getting that point across to the public is a daunting task, as I learned in interviews I [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Recycling His Roots

    Recycling His Roots

    JNS.org – Having started his career playing on his family’s pots and pans, Jewish musician Billy Jonas has maintained this homemade performance ethic while spreading his messages of simple living and environmentalism to a shared home throughout the world. After beginning in the kitchen, Jonas soon moved to the music room, where he picked up the piano, guitar, and trombone. These days, the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist plays on with pretty much anything he can find, including cans, bottles buckets, and other recycled-object [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    JNS.org – Sara Davidson’s The December Project is a new book that should be read by all senior citizens, and by those who hope to live a long life, for it raises a question that most of us have not been taught how to answer: What should we do in that final stage of our lives? Many of us continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65, not because we need the money and not because we find the [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish History Why the Holocaust Occurred in Germany, and Why So Few Resisted (REVIEW)

    Why the Holocaust Occurred in Germany, and Why So Few Resisted (REVIEW)

    It’s hard to make a new contribution to the field of Holocaust studies,  but German historian Götz Aly accomplishes just that in Why the Germans, Why the Jews? His premise is that the origins of the Holocaust were rooted in the specific anti-Semitism found in Germany in the decades and centuries before World War II. Aly (who is not Jewish) seeks to prove his theory by studying only pre-Holocaust history, and tracing how the German people’s envy and hatred of [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Looking at Anti-Israel Celebrities and Their Brands

    Looking at Anti-Israel Celebrities and Their Brands

    JNS.org – During the current conflict in Gaza a number of celebrities have voiced their opinions in support of either the Israeli or Palestinian positions. But others—be it during Operation Protective Edge or at other times—have gone further than simply supporting the Palestinians by actively supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, making false accusations about the Jewish state, ignoring Israel’s position on the conflict, or justifying the actions of the terrorist group Hamas. Many of these [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Israeli UFC Fighter Returns to Jewish State to Rejoin IDF

    Israeli UFC Fighter Returns to Jewish State to Rejoin IDF

    JNS.org – Days after winning his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight bout against Steven Siler on July 26, Israeli-born mixed martial arts competitor Noad Lahat boarded a plane for his native country, choosing to temporarily exit UFC’s octagonal cage to rejoin the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as a paratrooper for its operation against Hamas in Gaza. Except he didn’t actually consider it a choice. “When [our] home is in danger, there is no other way for us [but to serve [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    JNS.org – My wife Suzy and I will never forget our wedding day. It was not just the uplifting ceremony and beautiful party that left an indelible mark. Some life-altering advice that we received from one of our guests informed and shaped our lives from that day forward. My high school teacher, Rabbi Moshe Yagid, pulled us aside just before the chuppah and challenged us to choose one mitzvah that would be the foundation of our marriage and our lives. He explained [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    JNS.org – Influenced by his Jewish upbringing and a summer on a kibbutz, basketball coach David Blatt is embarking on his highest-profile challenge yet: coaching LeBron James, the four-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player who has made waves for returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. After guiding Israel’s storied Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball franchise to its 51st Israeli league championship and 6th Euroleague title this past season, Blatt landed the Cavaliers head-coaching job in June. Just weeks later, [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.