I’m learning a lot about 3D imaging here at the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference in San Jose. One of my favorite exhibits so far has been Zebra Imaging’s holograms. The holograms really pop out in three dimensions and are viewable without wearing any dorky glasses.
Zebra Imaging prints holograms for architecture firms, government agencies. The holograms are about 2′ x 2′ and can be tiled if a larger area needs to be illustrated.
Instead of pixels, the company uses lasers to print hogels. Hogels are like 3D pixels and have up to 512 shades packed into one dot. This means you actually see a different color depending on your angle of view. The end result is that your brain is tricked into seeing a 3D image jump off a flat surface.
I think these things holograms would be a great way for designers to pitch clients ideas or for marketers make their displays stand out.
Zebra Imaging’s static holograms are just the beginning. They’re working on a second iteration of a 3D dynamic display. Think Microsoft Surface, but in three dimensions. All of this requires a ton of computing horsepower and it’ll be several years before they can even think of bringing it to market. DARPA is funding some of their projects and I’d imagine military planners would love to be able to use a system like this.
In the meantime you can order your own portable 3D hologram for about $3,500 a pop. That might sound expensive, but it’s probably a lot cheaper than building a physical 3D architectural model with as much detail. Turnaround is about two days from when you submit your order.