Holographic technology - beyond AR and VR


True three dimensional visualisation technologies have been fantasied and theorised about over the past half century. The scientific community and sci-fi fans know that the best way to make true 3D images is by using holographic technology. The term ‘hologram’ is derived from the Greek meaning ‘whole image’. Holograms are able to capture and reproduce both the brightness and direction of light emerging from a 3D object or scene. This is unlike a 2D image which only captures the brightness without direction.

Conventional stereo 3D is based wearables including polarising glasses or Virtual Reality (VR) headsets or Augmented Reality (AR) goggles. All of these technologies have fundamental limitations which makes them unsuitable for a true 3D experience. This is because these technologies do not recreate a true 3D image, rather they present a pair of 2D images to both eyes. This stereo disparity leads to a poor 3D experience as it is fundamentally unacceptable to the human brain resulting in problems such as motion sickness, dizziness and nausea. This is a serious problem that affects between a quarter to a third of the population. The glasses are can still be found in cinema but this is in decline whereas their use in television never took off. They are being replaced by VR headsets aimed at gaming, however, wider sales of these units have not taken off as expected beyond a smallcommunity of developers. Wider public acceptance of face-covering headsets is dubious. For now, it seems like AR is likely to take the mantle and replace the 3D glasses and VR headsets. However, this solution still has the inherent limitations of all stereo 3D systems.


An ideal 3D display should not rely on any form of head- or eye wear. The scene or object should be presented in real space (floating in mid-air), allowing the viewer to look around objects and see them from a slightly different perspective, as they would in real life. This leads to a more comfortable and naturalistic viewing experience without all the problems of stereo 3D. Only holographic and similar technologies can offer a solution to this problem.

Javid Khan