All eyes were on the stage at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, as no other than music legend Michael Jackson took the stage. That is right, nearly five years after his death, new holographic imaging technology allowed for his 3D, free standing image to grace the stage once again. This is not the first time holograms have been used to wow the audience. CNN used holograms to grab the attention of their viewers as they had correspondent Jessica Yellin and guest star and musician Will.i.am report live on TV as a hologram for the 2008 elections.
CNN used live people to make their hologram debut, but what about Michael Jackson, he has been gone for since 2009. This site was reminiscent of the 2012 Coachella Festival when Snoop Dogg took the stage with his long-time friend and fellow rapper, Tupac, who had died in 1996. This new technology of bringing the dead back to life is receiving mixed reviews by the public. While some people are amazed at the technology and love seeing their favorite icons back on stage, other people find it disrespectful to the dead and a little creepy.
What is a Hologram?
Holographic technology was the brainchild of Dennis Gabor, who came up with the theory that this type of technology was possible. This technology has advance greatly over the years, especially in the last decade and seems to be making dramatic improvements all the time. When CNN created their holograms for the 2008 election night, they used a series of 35 high-definition cameras to capture video pictures from different angles that were used to create a hologram. In this instance, the co-anchors on the show could not see the hologram on stage with them, but it could be seen on the screen and by the viewing audience.
Typically, a hologram is created using a different method that involves laser beams, mirrors and beam splitters. The laser beam is directed towards the mirrors, which work to reflect the beam to the beam splitter. This actually cuts the beam in half by sending half of the light to the object being captured and the other half to the hologram. These two beams are again redirected, and meet at a photographic glass plate, where it is recorded.
Unlike a photograph where the image is recorded and the transferred into a picture, holographic technology only captures a pattern. This pattern is what is used to transform the object into a hologram. One of the most amazing things with this technology is that if a magnifying glass is used in the process it will magnify the object automatically. If the hologram were created prior to the person’s death, they would be used at the object being recorded. If the person were already decease, previously taken pictures and video footage would need to be used.
How to Integrate a Hologram into a Funeral
The increasing use and popularity of holographic technology has many people wondering if there is an effective way to integrate holograms into a funeral. This technology is only expected to improve in its capabilities in the upcoming years. In addition, the use of these technology and its tools will likely decrease in costs as it become more popular. This will certainly make hologram integration into funeral planning possible, but how will it work.
This simplest way to make this integration occur is to have a holographic message prerecorded before a person passes away, and then play it back during the funeral. This will give a person the ability to leave a final message to their loved ones. This has actually been done for years, but through a video recorder with the video displayed on a screen or TV. A hologram will provide a life-like version of the person and make it seem like they are almost in the room at the funeral.
Another way would be for the families, as part of their funeral planning, to convert their loved one, through the use of old video footage and pictures, into a hologram. Of course, this method would require more work and probably cost a bit more, but it would still have the same effect. This would be a way for grieving family members to honor their loved one and pay a special tribute to them. This may also allow friends and family to say their goodbyes in a more personal way.
Not only could a hologram be used as part of the funeral service allowing the deceased to say his/her final goodbyes, but it could also be used in during viewing allowing family and friends to pay their respects to the decease. In addition, the hologram would be something the family could look back at days, weeks, or years later to remember their loved one by.
Is the World Ready for this New Technology?
The big question is not can this technology be done or even if a funeral hologram can be used effectively. The bigger question is how will using this new technology be received by those who attend the funeral. If the onstage performance of either Tupac or Michael Jackson shows any indication, society is split down the middle on how they feel about the use of holograms for the deceased. Many people thought that seeing Michael on the stage again was fantastic and some of his friends claimed that even Michael would have loved being a hologram. However, other avid Jackson fans felt it was disrespectful to his memory and just a bit creepy.
While this involves feeling about some of the top names in the music industry, how will people feel about it for a funeral of a loved one or close friend. It really is hard to tell. Presumably, people would not find it disrespectful if the deceased had prerecorded the holographic message before they passed away, since that was their choice to make. However, when the family makes the holograph after their loved one’s death, it may get different results. It may also depend on the delivery. Including a holographic message as part of the funeral services may not be as overwhelming for people as the thought of standing next to this hologram.
The truth is that holograms are already gaining in popularity and now that one of the most famous legend in the world has made his holographic musical debut, it is only going to become more popular. The use of a funeral hologram in the services may be inevitable, whether the world is ready for it or not. As with most new trends, the more people get used to seeing them, the less debate there will be about their use.
There are certainly some circumstances where a funeral hologram may be a great idea. Imagine the mother dying of cancer who wants to make sure her children remember her, or the father who wants to know his family will be alright after his death, or even someone who wants to be as humorous after his/her death as he/she was in life. For some people, this may be a great way to have people remember them just the way they want them to, rather than only thinking of how they died.
If you are planning a funeral with or without cremation services and trying to determine if a funeral hologram is right for you or your loved ones, you should consider all your options. For now, at least, holograms used for the deceased are still surrounded by a lot of controversy. This may cause some people to feel uncomfortable, think (Personal Cremation Urns) while others may think the idea is great.