You’ve built the world’s only interactive, scalable hologram system—so, what do you do for an encore? If you’re augmented reality (AR) company VNTANA, you link that hologram system to social media and give it data collection capabilities, creating HOLLAGRAM, a first-of-its-kind marketing tool.
The HOLLAGRAM system consists of the Kinect v2 sensor, a powerful PC, a holographic display screen, and, of course, a load of innovative software. The entire setup is extremely compact, suitable for use in even fairly small retail locations.
Users stand in front of VNTANA’s HOLLAGRAM, and their image is captured by the Kinect sensor’s body-tracking feature and its infrared sensor. The image is cut out from its background through VNTANA’s proprietary software, so there’s no need for a green screen or any wearable sensors. This image is then processed in real time through VNTANA’s hologram rendering engine, and, almost magically, users immediately see their own hologram live on the display.
Taking advantage of Kinect for Window’s gesture control capabilities, users can interact directly with other holographic objects, such as a celebrity or product, that have been preloaded in the digital space. All they have to do is move their arms and hands in front of the display. Want to spin a corporate logo? Just move your hand in a circle. Want to be a virtual DJ? The video below shows you how easily it can be done with HOLLAGRAM.
VNTANA CEO and co-founder Ashley Crowder notes that Kinect for Windows was crucial to the development of HOLLAGRAM. “The Kinect was the first affordable IR sensor readily available on the market and it’s the only sensor that can track the full body without wearables. Not having wearables is very important to VNTANA, as we’re focused on creating group experiences in public spaces like malls, stadiums, trade shows, and resorts.”
As you can see in the accompanying video, users are captivated by the real-time experience of seeing themselves as an interactive hologram. And while giving people a good time is a worthy goal all on its own, it’s the social media and data collection aspects of HOLLAGRAM that have captured the attention of such major companies as Pepsi and Chinese drone manufacturer DJI.
Immediately after the experience, users receive a branded email with a GIF, video, or photo of their holographic antics that they can share on social media. This social media component builds brand awareness. Meanwhile, HOLLAGRAM collects voluntary and passive user data, including email contacts and number of impressions, thereby building a database of potential customers. Microsoft Azure powers this aspect of the HOLLAGRAM system, compiling and categorizing the data seamlessly in the cloud. Commenting on Azure, Crowder praises it as an “affordable way to scale quickly. It enabled us to build out our social media integration in six days for a client.”
Microsoft’s BizSpark program, which offers resources to promising startups, provided VNTANA with the Kinect v2 sensor (about a year before its general release) and access to Azure cloud services, along with tech support for getting the most out of the Kinect for Windows SDK and Microsoft Azure.
The Kinect for Windows Team