Articles, Blog

How Holograms Are Getting Better Than Ever

What if I wasn’t here, but instead I was there
— floating right in front of you? Holographics bro. They’re coming. Greetings programs, Trace here for DNews — Yes,
I’m really here, I am not a hologram…yet. There may soon be a day where I’ll just pop
into your livingroom, into the palm of your hand or I’ll walk alongside you down the street. The idea behind holographic technology has
been around since the late 1940s when British scientist Dennis Gabor coined the word hologram
— from the Greek words meaning whole message — but those are a little different… we’ve
got these laser-based holograms on everything from novelty toys, credit cards and money. Since those post-War years, holograms have
jumped out of their little two-dimensional windows into three dimensional space! The
most famous one recently was probably from last year’s Coachella — where a holo-Tupac
made an appearance. But the most widespread recognition of holographic technology is on
Star Trek with the Holodeck — a place where anyone can put themselves anywhere thanks
to 3D, touchable holograms. We’re not quite there yet, though people in the business of
holograms DO think we’ll see a holodeck someday. But so far, all holographic technology is
really just visual trickery. The Coachella-Tupac wasn’t floating in 3D
space, but projected onto an angled see-through mylar screen, a technique that’s been used
since Victorian times with mirrors and glass. It’s essentially the same thing you’d see
at Disney’s Haunted Mansion, if less shiny-happy. Holograms work because our eyes are tricked
into seeing something closer to us than it is. Using a concave mirror, the “hologram”
appears to separate from the projector, but it’s an optical illusion. Similar to 3-D television
and movies, if you only had one eye and you didn’t use both, it wouldn’t be floating anywhere. Another holographic problem is the brain’s
tendency to see problems in the world around us. The Uncanny Valley is something we’ve
talked a bit about on DNews. If a hologram looks real, but isn’t done quite right the
brain doesn’t process it properly, and we become uncomfortable, afraid or sometimes
even sick. We know something’s wrong, but our primitive cerebrum can’t comprehend it
and experience this fear response. We’ve also yet to figure out how to get rid
of something to project ONTO. I’ve seen “holographics” try using smoke, water, see-through screens,
mannequins and animatronics. But they’re basically movies on a different type of screen. While
someday we’ll be able to project ourselves out of a droid; we’re still in the dark on
that one. And we still can’t touch it, that’s a whole other thing. What do you think? Are holographics worth
it? Thanks for watching DNews today! Holo-atcha boy! Come find us on Twitter, Facebook and
Google Plus to see behind the scenes stuff, suggest stories or just chat with us. Me,
Anthony and Laci are around, why aren’t you? Thanks for tuning in guys, see you next time.


  1. Neil G. Dickson Author

    There's a group that demonstrates an in-air hologram technology in the video at v=EndNwMBEiVU . It excites molecules in the air instead of projecting onto a surface or translucent gas, so it's more vivid. That said, they need to use a better camera to film it, because it appears to suffer from that banding effect that made it so difficult to film old CRT displays; our eyes don't have a problem with it, though.

  2. Matt Nambot Author

    Holograms are awesome! But you didn't talk about the Burton True 3D laser plasma display (search "'True 3D' Display Using Laser Plasma Technology #DigInfo" on youtube) now that's true hologram! It's only the begining but the frame rate and the resolution can only improve!

  3. Mike Author

    I think we'll see the displays move inside our heads before we can conjure a free-floating apparition.

    This way a computer could render the classic Star Wars holograms, or a complete holodeck — but what would be weird is, interacting with these scenes with your eyes closed, yet having everything appear as if your eyes are open. Maybe virtual blinks will need to be written in to save our sanity.

    Same goes for touch. Stimulate the right nerves and there you go… 30 years absolute max!

  4. simbot22 Author

    what about this one posted 3 years ago, that talks about touchable holograms:
    Or this one, making real 3D holograms using lasers and plasma:

    why are you still talking about reflections on a piece of glass?

  5. mitch Author

    Projected holograms wouldn't exactly have to be projected at all. Just trick your brain into thinking it is. Give us visual queues that cause our brain to believe there really is a person standing and talking in front of us. Kind of like how a computer screen displays only 3 colors, but our brains see much more than that.

  6. Niaaal Author

    How about a technology where two laser projectors would be facing each other, and with extreme precision, would both simultaneously project photons directly unto each other at the perfect distance and wave oscillation, where when hitting each other, they would produce a visible light at different depths and colors giving us the perfect hologram?

  7. Mamish Demamish Author

    The light would have to radiate outward from the contact point, which wouldn't happen with two waves like that. They'd superimpose at the contact point and then continue past each other. It'd have to be something crazy like coordinated beams of matter and anti-matter except that'd only produce gamma rays instead of visible light photons. Hmm.

  8. SophiePocket Author

    So the hologram of Dr. Lanning from I, Robot could be possible? With being able for it to recognise speech and "answer" accordingly?

  9. RAIDEN Author

    "How Holograms Are Getting Better Than Ever"
    Sooo, you put this title up and in the end you say we're still on the dark concerning this technology… unless you hate holograms then this title is misleading.

  10. J0K3R Author

    they should try to project it on to nitrogen N2 gas. jus a crazy thought….. if its possible Dr. Lanning tech will no more be a dream. coz voice recognition is easy for limited no.of commands (Google Now app; android)

  11. SophiePocket Author

    Yeah that's what I was thinking, seeing as the voice recognition is pretty good and getting better, just imagine how many other uses this type of hologram/voice software could be used for 🙂

  12. Nyarlathotep Author


    And just to add more. Vocaloid are projected onto a DILAD screen using rear projection. The rear projection matched with the DILAD screen creates a holographic effect, but it's still just projection. Very high quality projection.

  13. xxpyroxx75 Author

    look these vids up if u want to see real holographics
    ( 'True 3D' Display Using Laser Plasma Technology #DigInfo )
    ( CES '11: Japan's Laser 3D Image Display )

  14. Kibate Author

    I've seen some (japanese of course) people building a device in which you can put your hand in and actually FEEL things programmed by the computer, in other words do this big enough for a room plus include a hologram technology in it, voila, you got yourself a holodeck.

  15. Crusoe Author

    Dennis Gabor? WTF

    He's name is Gábor Dénes.  (or Dénes Gábor if You want switch it in "english" order – Gábor is his Family name -). But we Hungarian say Family name first.

  16. Martin Brossman Author

    What a poor definition of real holograms. Here "It involves the use of a laser, interference, diffraction, light intensity recording and suitable illumination of the recording. The image changes as the position and orientation of the viewing system changes in exactly the same way as if the object were still present, thus making the image appear three-dimensional."

    I made them in high school with a helium neon laser. Usually you do your homework better before a show.

  17. MrMorphicus Author

    How the hell do you dare to call the brain a primitive cerebro, I never had such program failure, it"s just that your mental software is useless, stop insulting the brain or seeing it as having certain mistakes, it"s just that your software is to useless to use this marvel of a biological hardware.Delete yourself,or repair your registry

  18. MrMorphicus Author

    Holograms are easy to make, it"s about the hardware here, you need to make a ray with a certain frequency to detect your finger at a certain place, and that place has a button to it, the only problem is making it cheap

  19. The Puncakian Author

    The only way to make a true hologram would be to have light that somehow is segmented into different colors like the bottom of the light tube is red, the middle is blue, the top is clear, etc.

  20. Ken Behrendt Author

    Most people talk about holograms, but are clueless as to what they are. Basically, a hologram is a complex developed pattern of a staggeringly huge number of overlapping sets of concentric black interference rings made in a photographic film's emulsion caused by the coming together of laser light reflecting off of the surface of a 3D object with another separate diffused laser beam that does not reflect off of the object called a "reference" beam. After the pattern in the emulsion is later developed, another diffused beam is shown thorough this pattern and, via diffraction, the photons in it are forced by each set of concentric interference rings to converge and form a _single_point on the surface of the original 3D object used to make the hologram. However, not just one point is created, but all of the thousands and thousands of points on the surface of the object that the original diffused beam reflected off of.

    When one later views diffused laser light coming through the developed hologram, incredibly, he will actually see two 3D images. One will be of the original object which will appear behind the hologram and the other will appear to be floating in front of it! In order that the images be sharp, one must use monochromatic laser light of a single frequency. To make a full color holographic image is more complicated than a monochromatic one and requires three lasers, one red, one yellow, and one blue that each forms separate sets of concentric interference rings in the three emulsion layers of color film. Viewing the full color holographic image then requires the use of a red, yellow, and blue laser simultaneously.

    If one could fill a large space with some sort of mist like smoke or steam, then it should be possible to form a full color projected holographic image in the mist and even have it move about. The problem with all of this is that one would need some sort of LCD emulsion plate that could be temporarily programmed to form the various sets of concentric interference rings for each point in the image and also there would need to be three layers to the plate that would diffract the three colors of laser light in order to give each point whatever color it is supposed to have. The "pixels" needed to make the electronically programmable three layer LCD emulsion plate would almost have to be the size of molecules! This is something that, maybe, decades from now with advances in nano technology might be possible. For the time being we're going to have to fake it by just using large screen tv's and wearing those LCD shutter glasses that synchronize with the progressively scanned images on the tv and alternately black our one or the other lens so that each of a viewer's eyes only sees the one of each two sequentially flashed images on the screen that corresponds to image that eye is supposed to see. No it's not true holography, but it is something available now and satisfactory for most people.

  21. Paul TheSkeptic Author

    I've always wondered about those Star Trek holodecks. Based on some of the things they say, we know they use them for sex. A great application I agree but what happens to the eh,… leftovers so to speak? When you turn off the holodeck and the holograms disappear, does your splooge just appear there in mid air and fall to the ground?

  22. Jason Shoraka Author

    Project Blue beam in Project Blue beam UFO Google it YouTube it there's also a park in Japan you can actually feel and see the holographic projections and I'm assuming you can also see it with just one eye instead of using both Technologies here you just didn't know about it till just now Google it Project Blue beam and Project Blue beam UFO I think the government is going to try to make like there is a UFO Invasion to try to get us closer to the New World Order I'm against the New World Order just to let you know that's what they talk about the end times in the end book of the Bible

  23. Lee Chapman Author

    There's also another way of transportation by staying in your own home… you have got the phone and the Internet… I think that people should put speakers on the moon and allow people to say things on the moon and also be stood on the moon and other planets ( I know that Microsoft Hololens already done the moon)
    I would love there to be a fair on the moon, where you would be moving on the Moon just by sitting in a chair and if that sounds to simple, how about having kingdoms and other worlds on clouds ( I don't mean just Earth clouds)

  24. J3AN P3T3R Author

    Holograms would only make sense IF the source device and all its components are significantly smaller than the projected image. otherwise it would beat the purpose of hologram. which is space saving 3 dimensional projector.


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