Ronald Reagan hologram unveiled at museum dedicated to late US president
© AFP | A Ronald Reagan hologram has been unveiled at the California museum dedicated to the late US president (AFP)

The Ronald Reagan museum in California has brought the late president back to virtual life with a state of the art hologram.

It features his voice, facial expressions and even hand movements in a project that cost a million dollars and took four years to complete.

It was unveiled Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, near Los Angeles.

"It's amazing. It really is. It's a little jarring to be honest with you," said Joanne Drake, who worked in the White House during the second of Reagan's two terms in the 1980s and stayed with him until his death as an aide and spokeswoman.

The hologram recreates three scenes: Reagan speaking from the back of a train during a 1984 campaign tour; in horse-riding garb at his ranch in California with wife Nancy; and in the Oval Office.

"This will feel like you're standing right there with him," said John Heubusch, executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute.

Cutting edge technologies were used to create this 3-D image of Reagan. An actor with a build similar to his -- and who learned his every last gesture -- was employed to simulate the body.

The face changes depending on Reagan's age in the scene. Silicone models were used to fashion them.

"As I was working on it for the last couple of years I kept wanting to reach out and touch him," said Drake.

The voice heard coming from the hologram is real Reagan: his words were taken from speeches and interviews, then strung together, cut-and-paste style, to create the text of each scene.