Holograms: A 3D Future

Holograms have been seen in many works of science fiction- books and movies. The most familiar movie with a Hologram might be Star Wars. In the movie, we see 3D Holographic images of people being used for communication.

Illustration of Hologram from the famous Star Wars Franchise

But, will this concept of science fiction ever become reality? To most people, it will be surprising to learn that Holograms (prototypes) already exist! They are not as advanced as the ones seen in Star wars or other science fiction movies, but, still pretty mind blowing.

3D Images Today

Whenever we talk about 3D, the first thing that come to mind are 3D movies or 3D viewing on Television. These are just mere illusions (so is the Hologram). The special glasses that we wear while watching 3D are polarized. This means that they cancel out some frequencies of light (in each eye). Therefore, the one eye sees one image and the other eye sees a slightly different image. This gives us the perception of depth. You can’t see a 3D movie in 3D with one eye closed.

3D Images In The Future: Holograms

There will be a time in the near future where you will have Holograms in your living room. You can have a 360 degree view of a sport or movie. If you move around you can see everything as if it was real. But if you try to touch it, you will hit a screen. Such a thing already exists! Sony built a prototype of the Hologram. It is a cylindrical screen which emits light in all directions in such a way that the left and right eye see a different image, which forms a full 3D image.

Sony’s Hologram prototype. If you move around this Hologram, you can view the car from all angles as if it was right in front of you. Image: Sony (Youtube)

How does a Hologram work?

The working of a Hologram is complicated. First, a Laser beam is split into two using a half-mirror. One beam falls on an object which then falls on a screen and the other beam directly falls onto the same screen. These two beams mix and create a 3D image of the object on the screen. Another laser beam is passed through the screen and the image is made visible to a viewer in 3D.

Applications of Holograms

Holograms can be applied and used in all areas of work. For example, in medicine to generate 3D images of a patient’s organ. In engineering and science, it can be used to create 3D images of the inside of a machine for repairs, create 3D models for a prototype technology, etc. Another use is for entertainment- 3D sports or movies!

When will Holograms hit the market?

Holograms won’t be hitting the market anytime soon, it will have to wait a few decades. This is because the amount of information required to store a 3D image is very high for existing technology.

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