Kanye West got Kim Kardashian a hologram of her late father as a birthday present - the technology explained

Rapper Kanye West arranged an unusual “special surprise from heaven” for his wife, Kim Kardashian West, in the form of a hologram of her late father which delivered a birthday message.

“Happy Birthday Kimberley, Look at you, you’re 40 and all grown up,” the holographic depiction of Robert Kardashian says, in the two minute message.

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For my birthday, Kanye got me the most thoughtful gift of a lifetime. A special surprise from heaven. A hologram of my dad. ✨🤍 It is so lifelike! We watched it over and over, filled with emotion. pic.twitter.com/jD6pHo17KC

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) October 29, 2020

“Most impressive is your commitment to become a lawyer and carry on my legacy,” carried on the message, a reference to Robert Kardashian’s career as a lawyer, during which he famously represented OJ Simpson.

The hologram also sings along to Who Put the Bomp by Barry Mann and, at one point, describes Mr West (who presumably scripted the holographic message) as the “most, most, most, most, most, genius man in the whole world.”

Kardashian West shared two tweets of the message, one with a “more close up view to see the incredible detail.”

I can’t even describe what this meant to me and my sisters, my brother, my mom and closest friends to experience together. Thank you so much Kanye for this memory that will last a lifetime ✨ Here’s a more close up view to see the incredible detail. pic.twitter.com/XpxmuHRNok

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) October 29, 2020

The reality TV star has attracted criticism in recent days after revealing that she arranged a 40th birthday party on a private island during the pandemic with her “closest friends,” which involved “2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine.”

Where did the hologram come from?

Production company, Kaleida, claims to have provided the hologram, revealing on its website that the project was displayed in Tahiti, where Kardashian West’s 40th birthday party was held.

The company uses a product called Holonet - a gauze projection screen which is highly flexible and transparent, and described on the company’s website as “the next generation in holographic projection screens.”

Though they are commonly referred to as holograms, technically this style of projection does not create a 3D image, but instead make use of an optical illusion called Pepper’s Ghost.

While a number of other deceased people have been brought back in holographic form, this has typically been at large live performances or museum events, as with a performance by Tupac at Coachella Festival in 2012.