A few decades ago, exciting future technologies were presented in a very exciting way in sci-fi movies. Back in the 1980s, touchscreens, phones with displays, and cars that fly were among the most exciting tech predictions for the near future. We live in such a world right now, although we’re all waiting on flying cars – they would surely solve traffic problems.
Among all those sci-fi predictions, one stood out the most – holograms. They felt so lifelike and cool. Furthermore, they had great applications in society then and now. Distance would account for nothing in business with holograms, so scientists jumped at the opportunity to explore holographic technology.
While we’re near to nowhere when it comes to full-blown holograms, holographic technology is on its way. Some holograms have already been used to ‘revive’ deceased music stars, and some high-tech TV studios also use holographic technology from time to time. It’s still an expensive option, though, and not perfect.
One thing’s for sure – the future of holographic technology is bright and has numerous uses in modern society.
What Are Holograms?
Everybody knows what a hologram is. Well, at least from what movies present. These 3D floating objects are displayed with augmented reality technology that’s already made its way on our phones. The final goal of holograms is to revolutionize meetings by allowing participants to be present in a room without actually being physically present there.
They are the next step to human-compatible digital content, and although it’s still not there, the applications for this future technology are endless. A hologram projected in a room can show 3D concepts of cars or business concepts without presenting plans on paper. Put yourself in the role of a real estate investor and imagine a company bidding for your project showing off a hologram of the building you imagined. Wouldn’t that be cool? You’ll be able to view the hologram from all sides, which is much better than taking a look at paper plans.
And it’s not just this. This exciting technology is already being used via AR. Whether you’re visiting a tourist destination or playing free online video poker, augmented reality is a really helpful tool that literally augments reality with useful information. This is a concept that can revolutionize full industries and present stuff in a way you’ve never seen before.
Holograms – the Future of Remote Work?
Due to the pandemic in the past year, many companies have turned fully remote. Others have sent their workers home until further notice, but everyone’s contemplating making remote work a possibility for workers. And that’s perfectly OK except for the meetings. Some companies hold daily meetings with their workers, and while it’s truly easy to hold video conferences these days via different apps, holograms will take it to the next level.
Start-ups have already begun working on the idea. If it passes through as expected, even more companies will move fully remote. Just imagine the possibilities – instead of a boring and always-buffering video meeting, you could meet up with your co-workers and bosses virtually and discuss things like you’re there in the room.
For that reason, companies such as Canada’s ARHT Media have already launched devices. Its version is called HoloPod and presents a working 3D display system that ‘beams’ presenters to meetings and conferences. It all sounds too Star Trek, but if you could see it in action, you’ll see how good it is. Other companies allow holograms within virtual meeting rooms, which is even better. Some companies have focused their efforts on virtual hologram meetings on devices such as Oculus Quest that are available to the wider public.
Such hybrid models are set on introducing new standards, making remote work easier than ever. And that’s just the beginning. As the technology catches on, we’ll find even more immersive hologram models that will eliminate the need for on-site work. This will help companies save budgets by cutting rent and equipment from the equation. While smaller companies pay small rents, giants such as Google or Microsoft spend millions every year on space. Isn’t that money better invested elsewhere?
How Good Are the Holograms?
Holograms have been live for some time. There have been many concerts held with 3D light projections re-creating musicians of the past. A 2Pac concert was held entirely in a hologram a few years ago, and the technology isn’t supposed to stop there. However, a glance at the holograms will tell you that the tech still needs work.
All holograms so far have clarity issues. And that’s perfectly OK. Companies need time to perfect them, and as more money is poured into this industry, it will get better over time. The industry is working non-stop to make holograms better. We have no doubt that better versions will hit the market as early as next year. This is a technology that could revolutionize working environments and has dozens of other applications, so no one will give up on it that easily.
How Do Holograms Work?
If you ever watched a movie representing a hologram, it is usually ‘light-streamed’ from a single device. They look real on film and are easy to set up, but the reality is far more different. As a matter of fact, hologram technology is pretty complex, so we won’t go into much detail to explain it.
The first thing techies do when creating a hologram is to record a person in a fully clean environment. This is done with an advanced laser beam. That information is later transported to a medium that records it, cleans it, and clarifies the image.
The laser beam that projects the hologram is split in two and then redirected with mirrors. One of these beams is aimed at an object – a bit of light reflects off it and gets stored in the chosen medium. The second beam is called the reference beam. This one is aimed at the recording medium. It helps display a clear, clarified image on the hologram location, with the beams constantly interfering with each other.
This exact pattern is imprinted on the recording medium, essentially creating a 3D image of the person or object. As mentioned, this is a truly complex technology that will need some work in the future, so it can be easily adopted by companies.
How Holograms Revolutionize the World?
This exciting technology can be applied to many industries and will definitely revolutionize the world. The coolest thing about it is that we’re not far from that happening. Holograms are already being used in some scenarios, although it’s expensive tech that hasn’t been perfected yet.
But, without further ado, here are some ways where holograms could be in use sooner rather than later.
From a common perspective, holograms are best used for ‘reviving’ long-lost musicians. They’ve been tried and tested many times and have worked great so far. Of course, the source material of deceased musicians leaves a lot to be explored. The good news is that the industry is finding ways to animate new moves that will hopefully lead to new concert material in the future.
So far, the most popular hologram was 2Pac’s concert at Coachella a few years back. Roy Orbison has been brought ‘back to life’ with this technology, too, as well as Whitney Houston. All of these musicians are greatly missed, but with holograms, we can enjoy their performances once again.
As mentioned, the industry is working hard to alter video recordings and release new stuff from favorite artists in the future. Imagine going to a whole new 2Pac concert, maybe with new songs included? It might sound too sci-fi now, but with the way the industry has been progressing, it might arrive sooner rather than later.
Online gaming holograms can completely revolutionize the industry. Live dealer games are pretty popular right now, and the streams are great. However, the industry is looking to cut back costs, and as soon as working holograms go live, live dealers might lose their jobs.
Pre-recorded holograms will mean no mistakes in dealing or gameplay. While everyone is looking for a human touch in casinos games online, holograms can be just as good. To be perfectly honest, this technology can move leaps and bounds ahead to the point of being unrecognizable from humans.
It will have a wide range of uses in online gambling, especially with VR casinos in the mix. In the future, you may be able to put on some hybrid VR-hologram glasses and experience a lifelike presentation of Vegas without ever visiting a land-based casino. The future of the online gambling industry is very exciting, and holograms may play a big part in it.
One of the main aspects of military intelligence is geo-mapping. While that can be done on paper like it was until now, fully 3D holographic images can improve reconnaissance. Imagine being able to take a look at the battlefield from numerous positions. It can be a gamechanger in the fight against terrorists in the future that can save the lives of thousands of people.
Some companies have already delivered thousands of 3D holographic military maps, allowing soldiers and generals to take a look at 3D terrains and look at the map from different angles. It’s a complex process that involves a lot of recording, gigabytes of computerized data, and a lot of post-processing.
This process results in a clear 3D image of the battlefield or reconnaissance of important locations. These kinds of maps can be easily stored and transported on a simple USB stick. You can then take a look at them from any device, including some mobile phones. As far as the military is concerned, holograms should only be used in this way.
If holograms can be of use to the military, imagine what they could do for hospitals. Pinpoint holograms of damaged organs can make surgeries a breeze. There have been a few companies testing these images for training and display. Just like with most holograms, they don’t require any special device. Doctors can look at unhindered 3D images from different angles, which could revolutionize medicine as we know it.
That does sound like the stuff of science fiction movies, but it’s already live. These holograms can hit medical institutions and hospitals soon, which will definitely improve the survival rate.
Wondering how holograms can help protect your identity and prevent fraud? Well, you’re already using them—kind of. Take a look at your Mastercard or Visa debit, or credit card. Do you see that small rectangle or oval that changes shape and light as you move the card around? That’s a hologram that protects it. Those are very easy to create but very hard to forge.
The 3D image is also used on most banknotes. Known as a 3D secure hologram, these floating pictures are a perfect example of how holograms are used in the financial industry. Many other companies have started locking their products down in the same way. They store your data better than anything else, so no one can hack your credit or debit card with ease.
The Internet is bigger than ever. We store incredible amounts of data these days, and digital storage capacity increases while going cheaper than ever. We’re all looking for cheap ways to store data online and keep it there for a lifetime. It’s simply easier to store it like that than using USB drives or portable HDDs. Plus, by going to the cloud, you can access your data anytime and anywhere.
How do holograms play a part in it? Well, many experts believe that they’re the storage of the future. Prototype holographic information storage systems can hold as much as 4.4 million individual pages of info on a disc. Remember how they stored video recordings in Star Wars? That’s right – through holograms. That movie franchise was ahead of its time in many aspects, including storage information.
While this technology has a long time to go before its integration, it’s a perfect example of how holograms can improve our lives.
As soon as holograms were invented, artists were all over them. Many artists have focused their efforts on creative holography, and that has happened for 3-4 decades. Pioneering artists around the world are working on different 3D holograms that are sold as art pieces worth millions.
Creative hologram shows have already been held in many European cities, with thousands of artists involved. Artistic holograms are not just a sci-fi piece anymore – they’re here, and they’re real.
Holographic projections can revolutionize education thanks to mixed reality into the mainstream. Interactive holograms are already being worked on, and when developed, they can enhance learning experiences like nothing else. It will be used in classrooms, especially in more technical subjects that will make the most use out of it.
For example, buildings can be displayed in architecture classes so teachers can point out weak points. In technical classes, students will be able to interact with mechanical parts or engines and see them firsthand, which is much easier than bringing a massive part into the classroom. It just has endless mainstream education applications, allowing students to visualize their classes instead of just reading in theory.
Enhanced with VR and AR, holograms can become the future of education for sure.
Amateurs have experimented with holograms since the technology was invented. Through the use of cheap lasers, holographic projections have plenty of hobbyists’ uses. In the 2000s, holo kits were sold for cheap, allowing amateurs to build their own holograms for different purposes.
With holographic kits scarce, amateurs resort to building their own holograms from scratch. It’s become quite the hobby in many countries, although it’s safe to say that you should read in-depth guides before you start working on your own.
The Future of Hologram Technology
Holographic technology is far off from being mainstream technology. The truth is that they have a long way to go before they can enter the mainstream and be used in education or the military. As a matter of fact, the military may get it first since it pours a lot of money into technologies that can enhance the data they’re using.
It should also be in hospitals soon, although, as we said, it all depends on how the technology progresses. The main challenge right now is the design. We’ve gotten used to transparent holograms, but the industry is working on making them opaque. That’s for entertainment purposes only, but opaque holograms will be used in medicine and military mapping too. In fact, both transparent and opaque holograms are useful, and designers are working to improve both.
With the world’s landscape changing, especially when it comes to education, holograms will present better learning opportunities. They might have been science fiction in the past, but today, they can be used in many ways. Those simulated 3D light projections can change the way we see the world and may even save lives if they find real applications in military mapping and medicine, as we mentioned before.
Many companies are working around the clock to bring holograms closer to the mainstream. Some have done it, although the technology is still too expensive to be used. As the demand for it grows, its price will lower. If it’s as revolutionary as it should be, holograms will be used in different ways. And that’s great since they can really improve how the world works.
We’re only seeing the beginning of this exciting technology. As innovators and designers make it better, we’ll see how useful holograms can be. They will surely grow to be a big part of society but aren’t quite there yet.
Companies Working on Holographic Technology Right Now
At the moment, holograms are being used as lavish technology displayed by the world’s top tech moguls or companies. Many tech companies are developing their own version of holograms, either with VR and AR in the mix or without these technologies. Many believe that holograms can only work with AR and VR attached to them, and it’s true that these technologies can enhance the way holograms work.
Below you can see an overview of the top companies working on holograms at the moment.
VividQ was launched in 2017, so it’s one of the youngest companies on this list. It had one goal in mind at launch – bringing holograms to the mainstream. The company is currently working on HMDs (head-mounted displays), automotive HUDs, as well as smart glasses with holograms built within. These should be used for game engines and depth-sensing cameras.
There’s no live VividQ product yet, but it should come soon. The company raised over $15 million in 2021 for R&D on the mentioned products.
MDH Hologram Ltd.
MDH Hologram is one of the leaders in hologram development. The company was founded back in 2002 and installed the first commercial hologram at the Swarowski Museum in Austria in 1996. Its top product is EyeMagic, allowing people to look at holograms from any angle, just like in real life.
If a working hologram is developed soon, MDH Hologram Ltd. will surely be the company behind it.
Just like MDH, SeeReal is one of the hologram pioneers. It was launched in the same year (2002); it specializes in the field of 3D holo displays and autostereoscopic technology. It has won several prestigious prizes for its efforts and is working to produce 3D holographic display products with a natural eye focus.
Holoxica is working around the clock on unique 3D visualization technologies for medical purposes. It’s an award-winning company that has developed 3 generations of holo displays as well as HUDs and volumetric displays.
As of 2021, Holoxica has one working product – 3D Telepresence. It aims to revolutionize video conference calls without wearing headsets or 3D glasses, just like in those 70s and 80s sci-fi flicks.
Nanjing was founded in 2016 by hardware intellectuals that have joined efforts for R&D of holographic display equipment. They’ve created a tool called 3D Video Generation, a piece of software that enables companies to build holograms with ease.