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Holograms and a DIY smartphone 3D projector


Ever since R2D2 passed the very_important_message from princess Leia, human kind is fascinated by the idea of holograms. And today we’re closer than ever to creating them. Technology at such level is not yet available for you or me to have it at home and send love notes or shopping lists ;) But in the future, who knows! For now we can have a little fun displaying holographic images using our smartphones and that's something!

What are holograms?

Basically a hologram is a 3D image of the object displayed with use of a light field and not formed by any type of lens. It should be possible to see a hologram without any intermediate optical systems or devices.
“The hologram itself is not an image and it is usually unintelligible when viewed under diffuse ambient light. It is an encoding of the light field as an interference pattern of seemingly random variations in the opacity, density, or surface profile of the photographic medium. When suitably lit, the interference pattern diffracts the light into a reproduction of the original light field and the objects that were in it appear to still be there, exhibiting visual depth cues such as parallax and perspective that change realistically with any change in the relative position of the observer.” – Wikipedia
Ideally, hologram should look exactly like the object it represents and technology requires using a laser in order to make and then view the hologram. So you know, we’re aiming at something better than this:



Leia Display System

Speaking of princess Leia... Leia Display System is one of the very interesting projects in the field of holography.  It doesn’t produce the real hologram, as the picture is 2D, not 3D, but it’s interactive! Which means you can manipulate whatever objects are displayed – it reminds me of “Iron Man” movies ;) This system uses mist as a display “screen” – yep, regular mist made of water and it can run as long as water is supplied.


Looks pretty cool, huh? And you can contact creators and rent or buy their system here: Leia Display System

Haptoclone

Now this one is not something you can actually get your hands on, but certainly it’s something new – it creates holograms that you can actually feel when you’re touching them. Haptoclone creates an image in mid-air, which falls into a category of holograms.


Those who were lucky to test it, claim that touching a “clone” of an object gives a similar sensation to touching the original one, so I’d say it’s pretty much successful. The technology behind this project uses ultrasound energy. It also copies optical light field using micro mirrors and haptic force field by use of haptic holography technique. This allows to project a hologram of an object and allows user to feel it. Haptoclone is a project of Japanese scientists from University of Tokyo and you can read more about it here: Haptoclone

Fairy Lights

Another project by Japanese researchers – from Tsukuba University. Using femtosecond lasers, which are much safer than nanosecond lasers (the latter can burn human skin), they created holograms that are responsive to your touch. Holograms are computer-generated (and kind of cute if you’d ask me!) are teeny tine ones – about 1cm3, but there is a possibility to scale them up.  Femtosecond lasers in this project are used to stimulate physical matter to emit a 3D formed light.


Creators of Fairy Lights system are thinking of using their technology as 3D communication system or even for more casual things like displaying a keyboard on user’s lap. You can check full documentation of this project here: Fairy Lights

Make holograms at home!

Did you know you can turn your smartphone into holographic display? Well...sort of. TECHNICALLY it's just a system of “mirrors” reflecting the image and creating an illusion of 3D (Yep, I must be fun at the parties, I know ;) ). Will this get you a Nobel prize? Nope. Can it be an entertaining little thing to do? Definitely. Plus, I’m thinking fun science project with kids ;)

What will you need? One plasma generator, two nanosecond lasers and a NASA official permission...naah. Actually you just need few things that I’m sure you’ve got at home. And what we’re doing is replicating an old trick called “Pepper’s ghost”, also used to display Michael Jackson hologram few years ago during 2014 Billboard Music Awards.

Items needed: plastic CD case, sticky tape, sharp knife/glass cutter or scissors, ruler and a pen. 
Tip from me: CD case is not necessary - any transparent material that is stiff enough to hold its shape is good. I used a plastic sheet from some box I had around (the type like they use in toy boxes with transparent front?) – much easier to cut, which is important if you want to do this with kids – safety first!

For a standard smartphone screen size you’ll need to cut out 4 trapezoid shapes like this:


Then connect them using sticky tape into a pyramid and you’re done!

Detailed video tutorial:


Place your pyramid upside down on the screen of your smartphone and you can enjoy holograms! Of course you’ll need special type of videos to see them and there is plenty on YouTube – just look for “3d hologram videos” :) Have fun! Impress your friends and family! Uhm...maybe not, but it’s still entertaining ;)
Here are few samples how it looks like in my case:




You'll get best results in a dark room, so make sure there is not too much of a light :)

Have you tried it?

What do you think of this little project?

Do you think holograms will replace screens in our life?


29 comments:
Write comments
  1. Truly amazing what you can do with a phone. I need to get a smart phone.

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    1. Who would have thought it will be possible 10 years ago, right?

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  2. What a neat piece of technology. My dad would totally have loved to play around with holograms.

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  3. Interesting, I have to try making Holograms at home thanks for sharing!

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  4. I think this is just so cool. I've thought about making one after I saw a video on another site but I haven't done it yet.

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    Replies
    1. I came across these videos some time ago, and HAD to try it!

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  5. My boys are going to go crazy over this!

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  6. I am sure this is just the beginning of holograms. Eventually, they will just have a tiny app and built-in features, so you won't need a pyramid.

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    1. Most likely, recently I've seen a smartphone that kind of fakes the 3D effect - unfortunately it works only if you look at it straight, for a person next to you it will look completely normal.

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  7. My daughter will definitely go gaga over this hologram effects. She is into amazing and cool things like this.

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  8. This is so cool! My kids are going to love doing this <3

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  9. This is really cool and great! My kids will be addict to this.

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  10. I love holograms and am saving this post to my pin board. So cool!

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  11. This is truly amazing! I'm not a science person, but my husband would love this.

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  12. As the saying goes, this is way above my pay grade but not for long! Thanks for the details.

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  13. What an amazing tool! Leia Display System is simply incredible! Thanks for sharing video tutorial :-) Pinned your post :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! And yes, Leia is amazing - if I had it at home, I'd feel like Tony Stark :D

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  14. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this video the first time. It's really amazing and breathtaking!

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  15. I just made my husband watch this so he could make me one! I love it!

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  16. Wow. This is so awesome. You just know we have to try this out! Great info!!!!!

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  17. That is really cool that you can do it at home. I didn't know you could!

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  18. What a great post on so many levels. Holograms are intriguing and I had no idea there were so many different types. Even DIY :).

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  19. Oh wow! That's so amazing. The video is really detail too! It would be cool to make this!

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  20. No I havent tried this yet! We are almost in the Jetson age this so exciting yay!!

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    Replies
    1. Yes we are! It's crazy how fast we're moving onto sci-fi style world :)

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  21. I've seen something of this on an episode. I'd love to do a hands on with it on a phone.

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  22. Wow, this is fascinating! I've been amazed by the technological advances over the past decade and even the past 5 years. I definitely want to try this with my smartphone - thanks for sharing!

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  23. This is such a cool DIY project! So amazing

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