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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin as viewed through smartphone video technology that will make him appear as an augmented projection. (Omnivor Photo)

Politicians used to shaking hands and hoisting babies in person may want to check out the technology being employed by the president of Israel as he addresses the nation this week via augmented reality hologram.

President Reuven Rivlin is making political history on Wednesday, Israeli Independence Day, and he’ll be doing it with the help of Seattle startup Omnivor, as well as partners TetaVi and 8th Wall.? Volumetric video technology is used to capture a three-dimensional scene with an array of surrounding cameras and lets viewers engage with content from any angle.

According to a blog post from Omnivor, Independence Day is normally a time when the president opens his home to the public. The COVID-19 pandemic took care of that tradition, and now Rivlin is hoping people will invite him into their homes instead.

Those who engage with the content via mobile device will be able to hear the president’s speech and interact with the hologram. In a video preview, below, Rivlin encourages the taking of selfies.

“I remember the first Yom Ha’atzmaut, our first Independence Day, when the Israeli flag first flew at the top of the flagpoles,” Rivlin said in his speech. “We felt we were witnessing a miracle. And here we are today, 72 years on, and I am together with you.”

In a company profile last year, GeekWire reported that Omnivor is a “turn-key solution for volumetric video.” Clients get help filming, processing, hosting, and streaming content on any device ranging from virtual reality headsets to smartphones. The camera setup is portable and can be ready in four hours.

Omnivor, led by CEO Adam Kirk, is a spinout of Kernel Labs, a Seattle-based startup studio, and has raised more than $2 million.

Here’s how to experience the Israeli president’s video speech:

  • Open this link in your browser. On Android, use Chrome, and on iPhone, use Safari.
  • Once the app loads, ok the camera and movement tracking permissions.
  • Click the button about 2/3 of the way down the page to begin content buffering.
  • After buffering finishes you’ll see the camera feed begin. Press the screen to place content and begin the experience.
  • At any point you may take a picture of Rivlin using screen capture functionality.
  • At the end of the experience there is a pop-up window asking you to take a picture, click to dismiss.

This project was a collaboration between the tech companies involved, the Office of the President in Israel, and the creative direction of Nim Shapira.

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