Last week, the big story around the net was that Tupac had made his big return at this year’s Coachella event via holographic technology. A lot of people were comparing this performance to the 3D holographic projections we are most familiar with from the Star Wars movies. Sorry to burst your bubble, but this version of Tupac was not a 3D hologram. This image of Tupac was basically a very expensive illusion. Tupac’s “holographic” image was merely a CGI animation being projected onto a reflective surface. 19th Century magicians referred to this as the Pepper’s Ghost technique. Read this Gizmodo article for further insight.
Now if you really want to see what today’s holograms look like, check out Zebra Imaging’s Holographic 3D visualization displays. These are just like the Marvel Universe holographic trading cards that I collected when I was a younger… but pumped up on steroids! I would love to tile a room with these and walk around as if I were Godzilla. Of course cool things like this often come along with a hefty pricetag. According to the Zebra Imaging website, a 12×12 panel will run you $600 in color, a 24×34 panel will run approximately $2800! I wonder if Zebra Imaging will be interested in trading one of their panels for my 1990 Silver Surfer Marvel Universe card? Probably not.
Upon further research, it seems we are many years away from enjoying the likes of the Star Wars’ version of 3D holographic projections. All I want to do is watch 3D holographic television shows and communicate with holographic representations of my friends and family. Is this too much to ask? Although I might not be able to enjoy this luxury in my lifetime, 3D holographic projections are being developed in Japan as we speak! Check out the G4tv’s video with Morgan Webb!
I really hope this technology eventually makes it into my living room… without killing me, of course. I can only imagine what my children and grandchildren will be wasting their free time with. 3D holographic projection will most likely find their way into televisions, mobile phones, maps, textbooks and advertisements. Video games will resemble Star Trek’s Holo-deck or the X-men’s Danger room. The future of holograms is promising!