HOLOGRAMS MAY KEEP ASTRONAUTS COMPANY ON MARS

Buzz Aldrin as a 3D hologram in a volumetric VR experience coming soon to Time Inc’s LIFE VR. Image Credit: 8i

Buzz Aldrin as a 3D hologram in a volumetric VR experience coming soon to Time Inc’s LIFE VR. Image Credit: 8i

8i and Time Inc. have announced a partnership to bring holographic messages, recorded by 8i as part of a Mars mission initiative, to LIFE VR’s global audience. LIFE VR, in conjunction with Time, will distribute “Message to Mars” recordings from Buzz Aldrin and Reggie Watts created with 8i technology as immersive virtual reality experiences in early 2017. Aldrin and Watts are the first two participants taking part in the project with additional notable participants expected to be announced early next year.

Each inspirational holographic message reflects the participant and their own unique take on the Mars mission; with Buzz Aldrin sharing his personal experience and vision for sending humans to Mars, and the talented Reggie Watts performing an improvisational humorous song in his trademark beat-boxing style.

“As humans embrace the extraordinary commitment to leave earth and make Mars their home, virtual reality will be a very important way of staying in touch,” said Dr. Buzz Aldrin. “What could be more stimulating to students, scientists, and political leaders on Earth than to experience life on another a planet, and for the astronauts journeying to Mars to receive messages from back home? I’m honored to leave my message behind for these courageous men and women who will go down in history in a way that no one ever has before.”

LIFE VR, Time Inc.’s multi-platform virtual reality brand, that includes a dedicated mobile app featuring next-level storytelling from Time Inc.’s global brands, launched last month.

“Time and the iconic LIFE brand have a celebrated history of covering space and there could not be a more fitting home for ‘Messages to Mars’ than LIFE VR,” said Mia Tramz, Managing Editor of LIFE VR. “Sharing these messages from Buzz Aldrin and others on our platform is another example of the powerful experiences and unique storytelling we’re bringing to viewers.”

Holograms for the “Message to Mars” project were created with 8i, which developed proprietary technology that makes it possible bring photorealistic holograms of humans into virtual and augmented reality in an easy and scalable way. 8i software enables high fidelity holograms that eliminate the uncanny valley effect of computer-generated humans, giving the viewer an unprecedented sense of presence and emotional connection with the person they’re watching.

“In 20 years when mankind takes the bold leap of journeying to Mars, it’s hard to imagine that human communication will be as confined to the flat screen,” said Linc Gasking, cofounder and CEO of 8i. “We’re excited to enable future generations of astronauts to communicate with loved ones, relive memories, and experience archived messages from historical figures like Buzz Aldrin through photorealistic 3D holograms that feel as if they’re in the same room. Buzz is now a pioneer of both outer space and virtual space.”

Initially, “Message to Mars” holographic recordings will be available to the public on LIFE VR’s mobile app for Google Cardboard. Additionally, Time Inc. will soon distribute a complete Buzz Aldrin virtual reality experience created by 8i, in partnership with Soylent, on HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift. An early sneak peek of a scene from the volumetric VR experience will be previewed Thursday at VR on the Lot, a two-day content, technology and innovation summit hosted by the VR Society and AMD.

LIFE VR, which houses all of Time Inc.’s virtual reality content, is available as a free, standalone app for iOS and Android, with its programming distributed across all channels where VR is available, including a dedicated mobile app for Cardboard, HTC VIVE, Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus. LIFE VR also has 360-degree video available on desktop and mobile web, across Time Inc. websites and at Time.com/LifeVR.

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