STREAMING NOW: Watch Now
CLOSINGS: View Closings

Enter a new dimension: Will.i.am's augmented reality revolution

Will.i.am wears a lot of hats: Grammy Award-winning musician; co-founder of the Black Eyed Peas; a judge on ...

Posted: Nov. 8, 2018 4:23 PM
Updated: Nov. 8, 2018 4:23 PM

Will.i.am wears a lot of hats: Grammy Award-winning musician; co-founder of the Black Eyed Peas; a judge on TV's "The Voice;" headphones entrepreneur.

And now he's bringing his creativity and flair for innovation into a new dimension, incorporating virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) into a variety of interactive experiences.

Books and reading

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Celebrities

Comics and editorial cartoons

Computer science and information technology

Fiction and literature

Leisure and lifestyle

Media industry

Publishing industry

Software and applications

Technology

Virtual reality

will.i.am

"We're doing music, (documentary), short film, long-form, graphic novel, AR, VR," says Will.i.am, whose full name is William Adams. "Things that we've never done. Things that the industry hasn't done."

The project that started this wave of projects was a graphic novel titled "Masters of the Sun." Produced with the publishing giants at Marvel in 2017, it tells what Will.i.am describes as "a heightened story on the rise and the fall of what hip-hop was meant to be." It follows a group of heroes facing off against an ancient god transforming gangsters into zombies, in an allegory for the proliferation of drugs in predominantly black communities in the 1980s.

But to fully experience the graphic novel, readers must download an accompanying AR app: "When we put AR on it, the book comes alive, so people can experience our graphic novel in three-dimensional space," Will.i.am explains. As you scan the pages with your device, characters and scenes seem to jump out of the screen.

The graphic novel then spawned an hour-long, Oculus-backed virtual reality film scored by the Black Eyed Peas and Hans Zimmer, and starring hip-hop legends like KRS-One, Rakim and Queen Latifah.

This autumn, with their Masters of the Sun European tour promoting an album of the same name, the Black Eyed Peas are bringing their AR show on the road. During the finale, the audience is encouraged to take out their phones and watch the stage through an app that overlays the performance with colorful graphics.

"We're going to augment the layer between the person on stage -- us -- and the audience so that when they're watching the show through the lens of their phone, they're seeing something that's not there," Will.i.am said. "It's like Pokémon Go on steroids."

Watch the video above to find out more about Will.i.am and the Black Eyed Peas' experiential experiments.

Article Comments

Mason City
Few Clouds
57° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 57°
Albert Lea
Scattered Clouds
52° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 52°
Austin
59° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 59°
Charles City
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 63°
Rochester
Overcast
58° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 58°
Tracking a rainy start but sunshine will return!
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Sydney Eaton named All-MVC

Image

Construction on 18th Ave NW resumes Monday

Image

Drake Relays qualifiers announced

Image

App allows you to solve mysteries

Image

Church attendance strong on Easter

Image

Two hospitalized after Austin shooting

Image

Tracking Rain Showers and Storms

Image

Blackowiak signs with Augsburg

Image

New Hampton girl's golf invite

Image

Austin Bruins vs. Aberdeen Wings - Gm. 4

Community Events