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'Deep Nostalgia' tool from MyHeritage brings ancestors to life

Posted at 12:48 PM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 15:48:40-05

LEHI, Utah — We're now able to get a glimpse of what our ancestors were like using a tool called "Deep Nostalgia."

It lets you animate pictures uploaded via the MyHeritage Apple or Google app or their website.

Within a few seconds, your results appear on the screen of your smartphone or your computer and it shows your ancestors from a still image moving their head from side-to-side, smiling at you, and even blinking at you.

There are 10 animation options to choose from, and each one has slightly different gestures programmed into it.

It uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning to combine your uploaded image with something called a driver.

It's essentially a video recording of a person that's turned into an animation, which is then placed underneath your uploaded image and blended together almost seamlessly.

"The combination of all those different technologies are all happening within a couple of seconds when you upload the image," MyHeritage director of public relations Rafi Mendelsohn said.

Some people have even used the technology to on statues and paintings before uploading them to social media.

"I think the response that we’ve seen on social media is exactly as we intended for the future to be, to be one of discovery, one of interest and excitement about the history and our family history," said Mendelsohn.

The genealogy company hopes this spurs people's interest in family history and inspires them to dig a bit deeper into their own ancestors.

MyHeritage says it's worth noting that this feature is only intended for use with images of your deceased relatives, not living ones in the interest of privacy and personal safety.

Deep Nostalgia is a feature that's free to use for the first few animated images.

This story was first published by Jordan Hogan at KSTU.