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 Middle East Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    JNS.org – Five months after Israeli forces tried to assassinate Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza, Deif appears to have signed a letter that the terrorist group claims he wrote in hiding. The letter, addressed to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, expressed Deif’s condolences for the death of Hezbollah terrorists during Sunday’s reported Israeli airstrike in Syria. Deif is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, but he has not been seen in public for years. According to the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    JNS.org – The cracks that had been simply painted over for so long began to show in Ferguson, Mo., in November 2014, but in truth they had begun to open wide much earlier—on Saturday, July 13, 2013. That is when a jury in Sanford, Fla., acquitted George Zimmerman of culpability for the death of a 17-year-old black man, Trayvon Martin. The cracks receded from view over time, as other news obscured them. Then came the evening of Aug. 9, 2014, [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Shining Light on Fiction During the North Korea-Sony saga, we learned two important lessons. The first is that there are two sides to this story, and neither of them are correct because ultimately we should have neither inappropriate movies nor dictators. The second is that we cannot remain entirely fixed on the religious world, but we also must see beyond the external, secular view of reality. It’s important to ground our Torah-based thoughts into real-life activism. To view our act [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    JNS.org – Hollywood has had its share of big-budget biblical flops, but until now, the Exodus narrative has not been among them. Studios have brought Moses to the big screen sparingly, but in ways that defined the image and character of Moses for each generation of audiences. The first biblical epic In 1923, director Cecil B. DeMille left it to the American public to decide the subject of his next movie for Paramount. DeMille received a letter from a mechanic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a tale as old as time itself, to borrow a turn of phrase. It’s retold every Passover, both at the seder table and whenever “The Ten Commandments” is aired on television. But the latest adaptation—Ridley Scott’s epic film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”—fails to meet expectations. Scott’s “Exodus” alters the source material to service the story and ground the tale, but the attempt to reinvent the biblical narrative becomes laughable. Moses [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Lifestyle ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    JNS.org - In December 2007, leaders of the Hazon nonprofit drafted seven-year goals for what they coined as the “Jewish Food Movement,” which has since been characterized by the increased prioritization of healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, and food-related activism in the Jewish community. What do the next seven years hold in store? “One thing I would like to see happen in the next seven years is [regarding] the issue of sugar, soda, and obesity, [seeing] what would it be like to rally the [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.