From the Editors
If you told a music fan 50 years ago that Tupac Shakur would be performing by hologram at Coachella, he would have said: "I don't know what any of those words mean." But it happened, sort of. The rapper, who was murdered in 1996, "rose from the dead and stole the show at Coachella, performing alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. 'What the f- is up, Coachella?' a hologram of the rapper asked the audience," The Daily Beast reports. The virtual Tupac "interacted with Snoop Dogg and the audience before performing two songs and disappearing in an explosion of light. Coachella marked the first time a hologram has given a performance that was not delivered during the singer's lifetime." Video of the performance is around the Web but being taken down faster that warring gangstas -- it seems to be still standing here at Break.com. What made the performance unbelievable was how believable it looked. "The life-size Tupac was amazingly realistic, down to the late rapper's signature tattoos, Timberland boots, jewelry and movements," said MTV News. Sadly, the scientists were unable to resurrect a holographic shirt for Tupac.
One guy who worked on the project said comparable projects "could cost anywhere from $100,000 to more than $400,000 to pull off." But, once built, the technology is easy to reuse, so there have been rumblings about full-blown holographic tours. Says Kimbee Jabber: "Blogs have been aflutter since Sunday with predictions of a Tupac hologram tour--and a BIG tour, and a Nate Dogg tour, and an MJ tour, and even an Elvis tour." Popdust cracks that it's irrelevant because "in 2013, the audience will all be holograms too." Tupac 2.0 looked realistic because it wasn't actually a hologram. It was prerecorded 2D video, projected and reflected onto a transparent screen on the stage. "It's called Pepper's Ghost and it works by partially reflecting light off a piece of glass from a hidden room," says TechLand. "You might have recognized it from the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland; at Coachella, they achieved the effect by rigging up a custom, 30-foot by 13-foot screen that could be lowered in seconds."
Despite it not being a legit holo, hologram gags are funny, so a Star Wars fan remade that famous scene where R2-D2 projects a holographic e-mail message from Princess Leia, subbing in a profane Tupac clip instead. "Combining the holographic return of Tupac with the classic atmosphere of this galaxy far, far away is like a delicious slice of chocolate cake at the end of long day of Portal," says Slashgear. (Even that seems like a hidden message -- wasn't the cake a lie?) College Humor pulls together bogus appearances of the ghostly Tupac in scenes from Harry Potter, the Power Rangers, and CNN. Best Roof Talk Ever contemplates the recent 3D re-release of Titanic and says: "let 2012 be remembered as the year we brought the mid-nineties back to life with overpriced tickets to 3D renderings of things I thought I forgot about. "
New technology is keeping other seemingly deceased things alive, like the wristwatch. At crowdfunding site Kickstarter, the latest project to break the all-time fundraising record is Pebble, a stylish smart-watch that talks via Bluetooth with a smart phone. It hit $5 million in money raised this week, with plenty time left on the clock to solicit more pre-orders. The Kickstarter blog notes that "12 projects have held the title of Kickstarter's all-time most-funded project" and two of them have been wristwatches. "It begs the question: Why?," says Treehugger. "Why do we want a watch that basically puts the same functions as our phones on our wrists? Weren't we working to move toward dematerialization and ending redundancy of electronics?" Yeah, right! This watch looks cool and runs apps! GigaOM says never mind the money, it's a viable new hardware platform that could create a software market. "While the artists and creators are usually the only direct beneficiaries of a successful Kickstarter campaign, the Pebble project has the potential to be a money maker for many other developers." But, wait, you said never mind the money...? Razorianfly wonders if Pebble's plans to distribute tools via a "watch app store" will conflict with iTunes's desire for total app domination.
Finally, speaking of Time pieces trying to remain relevant, Time Magazine has published its non-awaited "100 Most Influential People in the World" list, which "is kind of ridiculous. Or perhaps it's quaint and recalls a time when the publication was at the center of the culture," says MarketingLand. "The list should probably have been called, 'The 100 most interesting people according to our editorial staff and some other folks we consulted.'" In technology, no Google execs made the cut. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg but not founder Mark Zuckerberg made it. "And why is SNL comedienne Kristen Wiig on the list? Sure, she's funny and had a successful film (Bridesmaids) but is she truly "influential"? That goes for talk show host Chelsea Handler too." "It's unclear why Time chose Rihanna , whose occupation the magazine gives as 'superstar,'" says Gawker. "Is it because she challenges us to give second chances to those who don't deserve them? Because she entertains us by dancing topless in a field?... Last year's list of influencers included Gossip Girl actress Blake Lively. Sounds like they need a better vetting process, all-around." Who knows, maybe next year holograms will be eligible.