Yesterday at SXSW, Buzz Aldrin and 8i with Time Inc’s LIFE VR, premiered the world’s first legacy VR project featuring the celebrated astronaut’s hologram as he takes viewers on a journey through space and reveals his plan to send humans to Mars.
“Buzz Aldrin: CYCLING PATHWAYS TO MARS” is a groundbreaking educational room-scale VR experience with stunning visual effects that is the first official release from holographic technology company 8i, and the first room-scale VR experience featuring a real human to be released by Time Inc.’s LIFE VR.
SXSW attendees were the first to experience “Buzz Aldrin: CYCLING PATHWAYS TO MARS” at its world premiere, followed by a featured session with Buzz Aldrin in conversation with TIME Editor-at-large Jeffrey Kluger.
“While the moon landing was a monumental achievement for humanity, there’s no greater mission than mankind’s journey to Mars,” said Buzz Aldrin, astronaut on Gemini 12 and Apollo 11 missions. “I have a plan for creating a human settlement on Mars, and thanks to virtual reality and holographic technology from 8i, we now have an exciting new way to communicate this plan with the world and to leave my legacy behind for future generations of aspiring space travelers.”
“Capturing Buzz Aldrin’s hologram for future generations has been an incredible honor and a watershed moment for 8i,” said Steve Raymond, CEO of 8i. “Virtual reality has enormous potential to educate and inspire, and we know Buzz will spark the imagination of young people who will one day journey to Mars and begin a new chapter for mankind. Our entire team has been thrilled to work on this project and we’re excited for everyone to see it.”
“Our goal with LIFE VR was not only to bring Time Inc’s storytelling to a brand new medium, but to also push boundaries and be pioneering within this medium,” said Mia Tramz, Managing Editor of LIFE VR. “Working with 8i on this project allowed us to bring TIME and LIFE’s history of covering human exploration to an exciting and unprecedented new frontier, and to bring our readers into this topic in a completely new way.”
“Buzz Aldrin: CYCLING PATHWAYS TO MARS,” which was created by 8i in partnership with Soylent, features a photorealistic 3D hologram of the real Dr. Aldrin with true volume and depth, allowing viewers to ‘meet’ the American icon and walk around his hologram as if he were in the same room. To create the hologram, Aldrin was recorded by 8i using volumetric capture and proprietary technology that brings photorealistic holograms of humans into virtual, augmented, and mixed reality in an easy and scalable way. The environment was created by 8i in collaboration with Loot and with stunning visual effects from FuseFX.
“Buzz Aldrin: CYCLING PATHWAYS TO MARS” will be distributed by Time Inc. to TIME and LIFE VR audiences across multiple VR platforms including Steam and Viveport for the HTC Vive beginning March 17, and to Oculus Rift soon thereafter. A VR trailer for the experience will be available in the LIFE VR app for iOS and Android beginning March 17. LIFE VR, which creates and distributes all of Time Inc.’s virtual reality content, publishes programming across multiple platforms, including a dedicated mobile app for iOS and Android, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus. LIFE VR also has 360-degree videos available on desktop and mobile web, across Time Inc. websites and at Time.com/LifeVR.