THIS is what your family movies have been missing: a hologram figure of someone super quirky or perhaps someone super famous to interact with.
Start-up app developer 8i is a step closer to making that vision a reality for more smartphone users, with a funding announcement today adding a boost of $35.2 million from a group of venture capital firms led by Tim Warner and including the Sydney-based OneVentures and Chinese search giant Baidu.
At the moment, 8i has a beta version of the app that lets users create videos with added holograms.
However it only works on Google Tango-compatible devices, which limits it to those people with a Lenovo Phab 2 Pro.
8i CEO Steve Raymond has indicated that future versions of the app will be made to work on a wider range of phones.
8i was founded three years ago and caught the eye of people at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, providing festival goers with a hologram of actor Jon Hamm that could insert into their videos of the event.
With the app, people could create videos that look like they are interacting with the hologram in some way.
Along with a consumer angle, 8i is pitching the app as a way for businesses to people to participate with their brand and create user-generated content.
Eugene d’Eon, a computer scientist who has worked on CGI-heavy movies including The Hobbit, and entrepreneur Lin Gasking are behind the app.
After the meteoric rise of the Pokemon Go fad last year, many are predicting augmented reality to be a hit technology of the year.
This week Apple CEO Tim Cook sparked rumours that the upcoming iPhone 8 to be released in September will have a AR focus, with comments in an interview with a British newspaper in which he talked about the technology’s potential.
“I regard it as a big idea like the smartphone,” Cook said.
“The smartphone is for everyone, we don’t have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic or country or vertical market: It’s for everyone. I think AR is that big, it’s huge.”