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Holoxica announces animated 3D holographic display with images that hang in mid-air!
Edinburgh-based Holoxica Ltd announces a new kind of 3D holographic display that does not use glasses or optical tricks, where the 3D images appear in mid-air before your eyes. Holoxica is renowned for its award-winning 3D digital holograms designed and produced for scientific, medical and engineering visualisation. For the last three years, Holoxica have been working in collaboration with Edinburgh University and Heriot Watt University to develop the technology into more than just a simple prototype, but a product that is ready to be commercialized. Most people cannot believe their eyes as they try to grab the 3D holographic image.
The display is based on holograms at its heart where a fixed number of different holograms are sampled and interwoven into the holographic screen. Any of the pre-configured images can be selected in any order to make “flip motion” 3D animation giving the impression of motion. The resulting 3D image is suspended in mid-air and can change in real time.
The holographic screen currently embeds up to nine images but this can easily be scaled up. The next step is to go up to sixteen followed by twenty-five where it is possible to get a second of full-3D video. Colour is also limited at the moment but this can be extended in future to give full colour images by combining red, green and blue light sources.
“In principle, our holographic displays are commercially viable as they are based on currently known technologies which means they can be cheap to manufacture in moderate volumes.”
Holographic display research has largely been driven by science fiction, ever since the first Star Wars movie. This has proven to be a very difficult technical challenge for researchers when they are faced with the realities of science fact. Holoxica’s approach has been to take the opposite view with a bottom-up approach rather than a top-down one. We asked ourselves, what is the simplest holographic display you can make? So, we started by making a simple two-image holographic display and we are working our way up. The results have been surprisingly good. Our images are big, bright and visible under ambient laboratory lighting conditions. The holographic screen is about the size of a page and the images are the size of a hand.
Applications for the current numeric display includes clocks, virtual icons or simple signage to display prices in supermarkets, for example. The next generation displays would be able to show animations and short film sequences. Holoxica has prepared a short video of the display in action, although it’s difficult to show a 3D display on a 2D screen. We are on the lookout for new and exciting applications, so if you have any ideas then please fill out our questionnaire or tweet us. The next stage of development will be to integrate the display into a system that can be taken beyond the laboratory and into products. The current economic climate is tough on high tech startups like Holoxica. We are seeking further investment to make the display better, smaller, cheaper and faster.
“We are in the second decade of the 21st century, 3D is picking up again and is making it big. The demand for real 3D is growing. Every sci-fi fan knows that holographic technology is the only proper way to do 3D. Everything else is just a pale imitation.
We are roughly at the same stage as LCDs were in the eighties where they were and still are used in simple things like calculators and wristwatches. LCDs and other display technologies have come a long way from those humble beginnings and we have a lot of expectations to fulfill”.
Scotland on Sunday newspaper article, 8 Jan 2012, “The 3D force may be with Holoxica”