Volograms: Making Beckett come to life with augmented reality

TCD spinout’s technology could enable us to generate a projection of ourselves

Volograms’ technology allowed the viewer to walk up close and around the actors in 360 degrees. Photograph: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Volograms’ technology allowed the viewer to walk up close and around the actors in 360 degrees. Photograph: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Fans of Samuel Beckett are likely not enamoured with the fact that Timothy Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek and other tech entrepreneur-oriented bestsellers lifted the “fail better” quote from a pretty bleak text and turned it into a glib Silicon Valley inspirational quote. But just because Beckett had a dark worldview doesn’t mean he didn’t love to work with technology.

In fact, the playwright was something of an innovator, says Nicholas Johnson, Beckett scholar and assistant professor in the Department of Drama at Trinity College Dublin. Johnson says he likes to think Beckett would have approved of an augmented reality (AR) version of the 1963 work Play that debuted last week, using unique motion capture technology developed by Trinity spinout Volograms.

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