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New Zealand prime minister opens event as a hologram

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ahern has appeared at the country’s annual Techweek festival in the form of a hologram. Ardern was unable to appear in person at the innovation-themed event.

Ardern’s hologram said: “I was disappointed I couldn’t make it to Techweek in person, so this mornin, I come as to you as a hologram instead which given the focus of this week seems appropriate.”

The politician also expressed approval of Techweek’s theme this year which is innovation that’s good for the world. Techweek will this year run more than 500 tech and innovation events across 36 towns and cities around New Zealand.

Speaking ahead of the event to Newshub.co.nz, NZTech CEO Graeme Muller commented: “What it will look like to people in the room is the prime minister will be there. She’ll walk out, she’ll do her normal announcements – it’ll just look like she’s there. But if you’re watching closely there’s probably going to be a few glitches, because it’s actually a projection.”

While Techweek has said that this is the first time a world leader has used holographic technology to complete official engagements, this is not the first time that a politician has made a public appearance via hologram. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey, attended a party meeting as a projection in 2014 while he was prime minister. Last year, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a candidate for the French presidency, attended several rallies in tthe same way.

Notable musicians have also made appearances as holograms. Tupac Shakur played as a hologram at the 2012 Coachella event. Base Hologram, a US-based entertainment company, has also announced this year that it is running music tours featuring the late Roy Orbison and Maria Callas. The tours utilise Epson Pro L-Series projectors which deliver native WUXGA (1920 x 1200) while Epson’s 4K enhancement technology enhances the image quality by shifting each pixel diagonally by 0.5 pixels to double the output and surpass Full HD image quality.

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