The rapper Tupac Shakur, who died 16 years ago, grabbed global headlines again last month when his hologram walked on stage at the Coachella music festival and started singing. Now GE takes the holographic experience an octave higher. For five days this week, you can use the same Tupac technology fleshed out with some hands-on Minority Report magic and build your own interactive hologram of the GEnx jet engine.
The project, called Throttle Up, opened on Monday inside a warehouse in downtown Brooklyn, New York. Visitors step into the large interactive space and sync their hands with the system. Motion capture and holographic projection technology then lets them scoop up hundreds of GEnx parts floating overhead and shape the engine. “It’s about showing the complexities of what a jet engine is,” says Andy Goldberg, creative content director at GE. “But it’s also about being able to build, getting your hands dirty, if you will.”
Build your engines: GE’s Throttle Up interactive hologram lets visitors build their own GEnx jet engine from hundreds of parts suspended overhead.
The GEnx is the fastest selling large engine in GE history. It powers a new class of Boeing planes, the Dreamliner and 747-8 Intercontinental. The innovative engine has already set world records in speed and distance in its class. Workers at GE Aviation gave Goldberg’s team access to detailed CAD drawings of the engine and sent Throttle Up’s designers actual parts to help them get their color, texture and reflectivity right. “The model physically mimics what the real product looks like,” says Jim Whalen from GE Aviation’s marketing team.
Indeed it does. Visitors start building the hologram by placing their feet inside a small blue circle. When the system locates the position of their hands, they use simple gestures to move around blades, turbines, casings and hundreds of other parts drifting overhead and form larger engine components. The parts lock up together with a thud, as if they had mass. The finished GEnx hovers and spins above their heads. A blast of air ruffles their hair as the engine attaches to an airliner and flies away.
It took GE and partners like Float Hybrid Entertainment, which designed the gaming and gesture systems, and Musion Systems, behind the hologram, two months to put the show together and one week to stage it. Hurry up, though. The space, which is located at 56 Water Street, closes this Friday at 9pm sharp.