The stories of Holocaust survivors are brought to life with the help of interactive 3D technologies.

New Dimensions in Testimony is a new way of preserving history for future generations. The project brings to life the stories of Holocaust survivors with 3D video, revealing raw first-hand accounts that are more interactive than learning through a history book.

Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, the first subject of the project, was filmed answering over 1000 questions, generating approximately 25 hours of footage. By incorporating natural language processing from the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), people are able to ask Gutter’s projected image questions that trigger relevant responses.

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The initiative was born through a collaboration between the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) and the USC Shoah Foundation, in partnership with Conscience Display. To create lifelike representations, USC used both 3D cameras and ICT’s Light Stage technology. Eleven more interviews with Holocaust survivors have been planned following the success of the project.

Interactive video technology will leave behind an incredible legacy for future generations, revolutionizing education, visual learning and be used in everything from schools to museums. Beyond education, this technology can also be used as an immersive tool that connects consumers to first-hand stories on a deeper level.

Microsoft has been researching various ways in which consumers can interact with 3D projections, albeit with different tools. Using several cameras and the Microsoft HoloLens, researchers have created a demo of “holoportation,” which projects 3D models of people and objects that can be transmitted in real time. The receiver can interact virtually with the projection, allowing users to ‘speak’ face to face with people thousands of miles away. The technology can also record and playback interactions through the HoloLens, effectively allowing users to create and re-experience a digital memory.

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Holoportation by Microsoft

Last December, researchers in Japan developed “Fairy Light” holograms which respond to the human touch. Although the initial projections are about the size of a fingertip, it’s possible to scale the technology up. In the future, this could make for interactions that feel even more shared, real and personal.

For brands, ambassadors, spokespeople, or characters could one day be brought to life for consumers to interact with. Brands could use anyone from the makers of their products to their CEOs as a new way to share their values and their history. This is an entirely new means of storytelling that can engage audiences differently and perhaps more profoundly than ever before.