The Florida-based businessman uses technology which has 'brought back to life' dead stars such as Roy Orbison, pictured, and allow them to go on tour
When Carl Minardo dies, he knows exactly who will be delivering the eulogy at his funeral – himself.
The businessman has recorded a ten-minute hologram eulogy, which includes him holding a martini and saying to mourners: ‘I’m talking to you personally because I want to express from my heart how important you all were and how much better my life has been with you in it. Let’s raise a glass to me.’
The 66-year-old believes holograms – three-dimensional images formed by light beams, usually from a laser – will be a common sight at funerals within a couple of years.
His company, based in West Palm Beach, Florida, offers eight- to ten-minute ‘personal eulogy’ holograms, costing between £15,000 and £38,000. ‘Some people have described it as creepy or freaky, but many think it’s a great idea,’ Mr Minardo said.
The technology has already been used to ‘resurrect’ dead singers.
Earlier this year, a hologram form of music legend Roy Orbison performed his biggest hits. And last week the family of the late Amy Winehouse announced she would ‘tour’ next year in hologram form.
But it is only recently that companies have offered the service to individuals wishing to ‘live on’ in virtual reality after their death.
Carl Minardo, left, is offering people the chance to appear in holograms at their own funerals
Daniel Reynolds, who runs London hologram company Kaleida, says he has been approached by eight people this year about their funerals. ‘They tend to be wealthy and understand this isn’t going to come cheap. Two of the people we’ve spoken to have terminal cancer, and the others are in deteriorating health.’
Mr Reynolds said the tributes would cost up to £80,000. He added: ‘The brain knows in milliseconds this thing is not real. The challenge is to create something that has a feeling of being real.
‘This is the same as going back 20 years recording yourself on a camcorder. It’s for the person watching rather than the person who is deceased, and the hope is you’re providing something more meaningful. If you see a 3D version of somebody, then that’s more impactful than a video.’
Taking it a step further, US computer scientist Muhammed Ahmad is creating an interactive hologram of his late father so that his children can meet the grandfather they never knew.
Prof Ahmad’s father, Mushtaq, died in 2013, years before Muhammed’s daughters Eileyah and Noor were born. ‘He can never interact with them, but does that mean they can never interact with him?’ he said. ‘In the past we remembered people by their words. The next step is holograms.’