Race against the time to holograms of Holocaust survivors
Researchers hope to create a permanent interactive experience with the holograms, so it will feel like the survivors talk in person
BEACHWOOD, Ohio – Stanley Bernath is a 92-year-old Holocaust survivor, among a few still alive. New technology makes it possible that people, upon hearing of his heart-wrenching experience, at first hand for decades, perhaps even centuries – through an interactive hologram.
As survivors of the Holocaust continue to die, the researchers have looked for ways to tell their story to future generations – but not only in books or movies. Researchers in the US have come up with an interactive experience that users feel that they’re having a conversation with a survivor – in real-time.
“We are truly in the last generation that is going to benefit of the seat of Holocaust survivors,” Kia Hays, a program manager at the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation, told Fox News.
The foundation researchers worked to refine the hologram technology of the past 10 years to create an experience that has never been done before with Holocaust survivors. The technology used is the most advanced.
“The holocaust should never be forgotten, and that is the reason why I like to do,” Stanley said.
He is the 15th survivor of the Holocaust to be made into a hologram.
Stanley’s story is undergoing a beta-test as an interactive biography at a display at the Maltz Museum near Cleveland, Ohio before researchers complete him in a hologram. The public may ask questions of Stanley hologram questions and get an answer from him as if he were a conversation face-to-face.
“By means of this device, we can say that we are taking a page from history and make it come alive,” Maltz Museum Founder Milton Maltz told Fox News.
On the point of beta testing Stanley interactive interview has been months in the making, Hays said.
Stanley Bernath is a 92-year-old Holocaust survivor, among a few still alive. New technology makes it possible that people, upon hearing of his heart-wrenching experience, at first hand for decades, perhaps even centuries – through an interactive hologram.
Months prior to the beta test, Shoah Foundation researchers in Los Angeles worked to come up with the possible questions that someone in the audience like to ask a survivor, Hays said. In the two months prior to the recording of the interview with a survivor such as Stanley, Hays, said the foundation is working on building a relationship with the individual.
“At that time, that allows us to know what the limitations that this person has,” Hays said.
Stanley interview consisted of two, five hours per day and almost a thousand questions, she explained.
“We had, when we were doing the hologram, about 1300 light around me, blinding me,” Stanley said. “It was not easy.”
Stanley interview, which was recorded in a light stage with 116 cameras to capture a 360 volumetric display of his conversation, Hays added. The next step was to each question.
“We identify any of his comments as his own unique clip and then integrate it in the software of the system,” Hays told Fox News.
Hays noted that the relatives are not coached to answer questions in a certain way.
“We don’t have to edit, to manipulate, to change his response in any case.” Hays said. “That is Stanley. That is who he is, and that is how he feels.”
Stanley said: part of the process is an honor for him.
“I looked at it as a gift that she gave me that I could do that,” Stanley said. “One of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.”
A representative for the Maltz Museum said that the audience questions to Stanley interactive interview will be documented and the response to these questions. The collected data will be used for the refining of Stanley software in order to create a better interaction.
Michelle Chavez is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in Pittsburgh.