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Politicians go virtual with 3-D tech

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on April 14, 2014 Published on April 14, 2014

Hi-tech campaign Technicians of MIC Electronics checking the 3D hologram of TDP President N Chandrababu Naidu on a truck-mounted mobile display for electioneering in Hyderabad. - PV SIVAKUMAR

Hologram technology helps mimic physical presence of leaders across multiple locations

With stakes running high and time shrinking, political campaigning is leaving a ‘virtual’ impact on people, with technology coming to the rescue of political parties. In Andhra Pradesh, 3-D hologram technology is fast emerging as the latest hi-tech option to woo voters.

Putting it to good use are key political leaders such as N Chandrababu Naidu of the TDP and K Chandrasekhar Rao of the Telangana Rastra Samithi.

The objective is to exploit the potential of this technology to address voters in multiple locations simultaneously.

BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidateNarendra Modi had demonstrated the use of the 3-D technology in the 2012 Gujarat Assembly elections.

NChant, a Hyderabad-based company, helped in the packaging, shooting and telecasting of what turned out to be visual blitz then. But it was limited to projectors and could be used only at night.

However, this time around, a new technology dimension has been added — the 3-D hologram technique that uses LEDs (light emitting diode).

The technology has been developed by Hyderabad-based MIC Electronics, a pioneer in LEDs in the country.

The most significant differentiator from earlier campaigns is that these devices can be used during day time also. This means political leaders can reach out to more people, creating the maximum impact. MIC has provided the technology to the TDP, and other parties are queuing up. Naidu,who will hit the campaign trail this week, has made a few speeches which can be broadcast in various locations.

The audience does not need special glasses and can view the visuals with the naked eye.

With the sheer difficulty in being physically present in every village in constituencies, high-profile leaders find the 3-D hologram an attractive draw, although the costs are quite hefty.

Naidu and Rao are equipping scores of special vehicles for broadcasting their speeches and also erecting physical display projections in identified places, where audiences will be reached.

Mimicking the physical presence of leaders with the corresponding speech audio makes it that much interesting.

Electronic presence

The holographic presence of a leader on a dais with other leaders physically present in different locations can be managed, taking the entire experience closer to reality.

What is a hologram? In simple terms, it is a 3-D image formed by the interference of light beams from a laser or any other coherent light source and the diffracted light from the object.

The technology has found application in telepresence (Aishwarya Rai Bachan in Jeans or Rajnikanth’s Robot) and digital resurrection in advertising, education and entertainment.

The cost factor

Mostly political parties hire the equipment. According to industry sources, LED hologram technology costs around ₹3 lakh per day for a truck-mounted mobile display. Typically, a monthly package is worked out.

For big stages in specific locations, the cost comes to ₹12-15 lakh.

These costs are a third of what they would be internationally, since indigenous software is highly cost-effective.

There are low-cost options as well. An ordinary 3D back projector-based night time display would be available for rent at ₹1 lakh. The system, on the other hand, would cost ₹15 lakh.

Published on April 14, 2014
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