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The Joys of Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding. It has become the next buzzword in business. Essentially, it works like this: instead of focusing their energies on obtaining bank loans or grabbing the attention of specific (wealthy) investors, businesses can pitch for smaller levels of investment from a much wider range of would-be investors who can, combined, meet a pre-determined funding target set by the business. This makes crowdfunding very accessible for the average person. Films, video games and smart watches have all been launched on the back of successful crowdfunding campaigns.

For companies like ourselves, high-tech start-ups looking to commercialise research, funding is extremely important if we are to realise our potential. While it’s inevitable that I would extoll the virtues of our technology, I truly believe that a genuine, working, interactive 3D display is something that could alter the way in which we live; it could enable smartphones, tablets or computer screens with genuine holographic capabilities. Think about that for a second. Your smartphone with a spinning 3-dimensional globe ‘popping’ out of the screen. It’s a reality that is perfectly plausible if we can build upon our research; our second generation display is already interactive, and can be programmed to show a 3-dimensional representation of a spinning Death Star (yes, the one from Star Wars).

That it’s been a difficult time for SMEs and start-ups recently is no secret. Shrinking real incomes have hit even the wealthiest investors, and banks are increasingly reticent to loan to businesses in the wake of tightening regulations regarding minimum capital requirements. These are simply facts that we have to live with. Crowdfunding however, gives us a way to circumvent these restrictions and raise the capital that is vital for our expansion and continued success, and our crowdfunding partner, ShareIn, has taken numerous steps to ensure that only those with a realistic understanding of the likely returns invest in the start-ups raising funding on their website. In just 2 days we have already raised £40,000.

Increasingly, studies are finding that SMEs are proving key to the UK’s economic recovery. An article in The Telegraph from earlier this month talks of the impact SMEs are having on the economy and mentions the staggering statistic that almost all net job creation since 2007 has occurred within this sector. Furthermore, SMEs generate half of the UK’s national income and two-thirds of all employment. They are hotbeds of ingenuity, accounting for 54 per cent of our exports. That’s how vital companies like us are currently.

With Britain only just in recovery, crowdfunding is a niche that many SMEs are utilising, and one that could fund some very important ideas and inventions which might otherwise have been missed. I hope it’s here to stay.

Holoxica has just started a campaign on the new crowdfunding platform ShareIn. For details on both our pitch and those of our fellow founding members, please visit www.sharein.com. For more info on Holoxica, and to see our latest updates, follow us on twitter at twitter.com/holoxica

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Higgs Boson hologram

Holoxica is designing a digital hologram to celebrate the discovery of the Higgs Boson and the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to Peter Higgs (Edinburgh University) and Francois Englert (University of Brussels). The Higgs boson is a fundamental particle of nature that is responsible for the formation of matter, or the stuff that we’re all made of. It was predicted way back in 1964 and but it took four decades to find. It was discovered on 4th July 2012 by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, the European Centre for Nuclear Research into particle physics.

The Higgs boson arises from the interaction of fundamental particles (W and Z bosons) with the Higgs field that permeates the universe, which slows them down and gives rise to matter. Like all other fields covered by the Standard Model of Physics, the Higgs field needs a force carrier, which is the Higgs boson.

CERN ATLAS detector

The Large Hadron Collider is the world’s largest, most complex and most expensive machine.

We made a computer model of the ATLAS detector and a Higgs candidate event. ATLAS is one of four detectors placed on the 26 km ring where protons are spun at almost the speed of light and smashed into each other. The Higgs boson was found in the trails left behind in the debris of these proton collisions.

The animated hologram shows the outside ATLAS detector, which peels away to reveal the interior with collisions and finally the tracks left behind by some candidate Higgs decay events. The A2-sized hologram will be presented in the James Clerk Maxwell building, School of Physics and Astronomy at Edinburgh University.

Note this is a computer-generated render, the actual hologram has the same information content but looks different.

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Full-length human anatomy hologram

The full-length human anatomy hologram is designed for teaching medical students about the 3D structure of the human body. Prof. Gordon Findlater commissioned this hologram because “teaching the true 3D structure of human anatomy to medical students is very difficult in the early years because all of their material is in 2D”

Holoxica created the life-sized 1.7m hologram from a synthetic 3D model of a female. The hologram contains three layers of information on the muscle structures, skeleton complete with arteries plus nervous system; and the internal organs. One of the challenges facing medical learning is teaching the 3D structure of the body since their books are in 2D and so are the apps that they might get on tablets. The hologram is a full 3D image that conveys the necessary information to aid understanding of the different aspects of the human body. There is no other way to show this information.

This is certainly our most difficult and challenging design to date. The level of detail is extraordinary. Prof Findlater says: “This hologram has exceeded my expectations in terms of quality and clarity”.

The hologram will be placed in the Anatomy Museum at the Old Medical School at Edinburgh University. It will be used by the anatomy staff to teach medical students. The museum is open to the public on the last Saturday of each month.

More information

Edinburgh University announcement
The Scotsman article
The Hearld Scotland article
STV news at six for Edinburgh, broadcast 24th Oct 2013

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Article on Biomedical holograms

Holoxica founder Javid Khan published an article on the application of digital 3D holograms to biomedical applications, which was published in the July 2013 edition of Laser Focus World, a leading trade magazine for the optics and photonics community.

Experimental setup for a holographic printer

The article discusses a brief history of holography including an introduction to digital holographic technology and how holoprinters work. It goes on to address signal and image processing required to convert digital data from scans, CAD and other sources into digital holograms. A whole breadth of applications are covered from DNA/protein all the way to organs and the whole human anatomy. It concludes with some of the advances in the field of realtime holographic displays made by Holoxica.

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Holoxica at The Gadget Show Live 2013

Holoxica was invited to present their holograms and holographic display at The Gadget Show Live! Event held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham between 2-7 April 2013. Our stand was located in the Future Tech Zone (stand nr FT10).

The stand featured a gallery of vertically-mounted digitial printed holograms by our partners View Holographics as well as a few horizontal floor-mounted digital holograms by Zebra Imaging. The interactive holographic display was also on show, together with a couple of apps for people to try out. Popular apps included the simple counter, Deathstar, drawing in mid-air and the meter.

Jason Bradbury from the TV show made a brief appearance on our stand on 5th April. He did a great job of describing our 3D holograms and holographic display on The Gadget Show TV programme broadcast on 25th March 2013. This broadcast had an audience of over a million viewers.

The Live Event had an attendance of over 60,000 people. Our stand was amongst the most popular – many people who had seen the broadcast specifically came over to our stand to check out the tech for themselves. We estimate that somewhere between 12-15,000 people came by to see our technology.

Holoxica founder, Javid Khan, was invited to present the holograms at The HUB Theatre with an interactive Q&A session hosted by Lucy Hedges from Stuff Magazine & Stuff.TV. We revealed a full-length 1.7m human anatomy hologram and talked about the current interactive holographic display as well as the future of holographic 3D displays.

Here are some pictures of our stand.

Press presentations on Holoxica's stand at The Gadget Show Live 2013

Video from CNET UK

CNET UK reporter Luke Westaway says Holoxica has “easily the most mind-blowing technology in the show”

Your feedback

If you were there and liked what you saw, then please leave us a comment below. If you have any ideas for holograms, then we’d also like to hear from you. Finally, if you have any ideas for apps for our holographic display then drop us a line below.

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Interactive Holographic Video Display

Holoxica announces an Interactive Holographic 3D Display, which is a second generation prototype. The design is inspired by Head-Up Displays (HUDs), based on free-space optics with images floating in mid-air that can change in real-time. A paper on this HUD-style display was presented at the SPIE (International Photonics Society) Photonics West Conference in February 2013, and it is published in the conference proceedings.

The interactive holographic display system comprises a Holographic Optical Element (HOE) lens, a digital controller, a motion sensor and a projection subsystem (a laser projector) imaging a diffusion screen. The HOE is about the size of a page (20x30cm) and the images are formed in real space (in mid-air) about 20cm from the hologram plane. The image are about the size of a hand (up to 7x7cm). The images can be refreshed at video rates and arbitrary images can be displayed. However, the images are formed in three distinct planes, corresponding to the colours of the lasers in the laser projector i.e. red, green and blue.

The display includes a Kinect motion sensor to enable interactivity with a number of apps that we have written for it. The viewer can ‘touch’ icons in space and do things like draw in mid-air. We have about ten apps at the moment including mid-air drawing, pong-style game, counter, keypad, viewing image sequences .. etc.

Immediate applications of this technology include HUD-style displays and novel user-interfaces with the added dimensions of real-space interactivity.

This display is an improvement over our first generation demo, which had a fixed number of images embedded in the holographic screen. The holographic images could be replayed in real space (mid-air) in real-time, in any sequence. However, this display was not able to display arbitrary images and there were limits to its scalability.

This display is featured on The Gadget Show, FutureTech Edition, broadcast on 25th Mar 2013 (Channel 5, UK). The show has over a million viewers.

click for The Gadget Show website

The holographic video display was also presented at The Gadget Show Live! Event between 2-7th Apr 2013 at the NEC in Birmingham. Our stand was very popular, with thousands of people dropping by to see our holographic technology in action.

Holographic display apps menu

More news and info

The Gadget Show Blog article with video
Holoxica at The Gadget Show Live Event at the NEC, Birmingham: 2-7 April 2013
TechRadar article Touch the future as interactive 3D holograms become reality
Optics.org article Interactive Holographic Video Display Developed
TechRadar article 3D holograms in your Honda: Hovering HUDs will help you drive
3D Focus article Interactive 3D holographic apps written for new display

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Biolab, University of York and ETDE

ETDE has designed a new biofuels laboratory facility for the University of York. ETDE is part of the Bouygues Energies & Services group including buildings and civil works.

ETDE commissioned Holoxica to produce a 60x85cm (A1 size) horizontally mounted hologram with four different views of this state of the art biofuel laboratory facility.

The first, front, view shows the whole building with the roof on; as you walk anti-clockwise, the second, side view strips away the roof and reveals the interior with labels for the main pieces of equipment. The rear view drops the labels and rear wall (see below) to reveal further details and the same is true of the remaining side view.

This design was featured on The Gadget Show, broadcast on 25th March 2013 on Channel 5, a national UK broadcaster.

For more information see:
ETDE York biolab page

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Videos about Holoxica

Here is a collection of popular videos highlighting Holoxica’s achievements in holographic 3D visualisation.

On winning the AEngD Writer of the Year Award 2013, for doctoral work on Holographic 3D Displays.

Second generation interactive holographic display

Full-length human anatomy hologram

Revealing the secrets of the Rhind Mummy

First generation holographic display

Holoxica at Photonics West 2012, San Francisco. Interview with Javid Khan

After winning the Edinburgh Science Triangle Collaboration Award.

First hologram of a Green Fluorescent Protein

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Kickstarter project

We launched a campaign on Kickstarter which ended in Aug 2012. The idea was to to offer our real 3D holographic technology to consumers through pushing the boundary of 3D digital design. The holograms for this campaign were inspired by 2D illusionists artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Escher. (more…)

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HMS Royal Oak Shipwreck

Holoxica Ltd, the 3D holographic imaging specialist, has unveiled a hologram based on sonar images of the iconic  HMS Royal Oak, the first battle ship sunk in the second world war, which lies on the seabed in Scapa Flow – the UK’s chief Naval Base throughout the two world wars. (more…)

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