TechKNOW Tomorrow – 3D Holograms on Your Smartphone

Image by George Lucas via Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.

Think of some examples of technology that have become staples of science fiction literature and movies: spaceships, laser weapons, robots. We’ve witnessed the beginning of each of these technologies throughout the twenty-first century. On the edge of science fiction becoming reality, future generations will be able to experience what we could only dream about.

Another technology you see frequently in movies is 3D holograms. There’s an infamous scene from Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope in which a hologram of Leia appears to Luke and Obi-Wan. Back in 1977, that scene gave us an idea of what we might never see come to fruition, but it was still fun to think about all of the possibilities.

While we have seen several strides made in “do it yourself” holograph projections, most don’t work well unless they’re in extremely low light conditions. The technology was just not quite ready for the world. Thankfully, one company might have just changed that.

3D Holograms by IKIN

Image by IKIN via IKIN, Inc.

IKIN, a company with a focus on developing immersive technologies, recently unveiled their prototype for holograms that can be touched, interacted with, and produced on a smartphone in broad daylight. If this is almost ready for a public market, that means that IKIN are the first company to make such a breakthrough with holography.

We’ve seen 3D visual technologies such as VR (virtual reality) enter the mainstream, but most people still prefer to consume entertainment through 2D means such as on a television or computer screen. Why? VR creates the illusion of a 3D image, but it still is technically using a 2D screen, which can cause nausea or eye strain as our brains struggle to discern the distance and depth of various objects.

IKIN hopes to change that. While creating realistic 3D versions of what we see is difficult with VR, “holograms offer a shifting perspective based on the viewer’s position, and they allow the eye to adjust focal depth to alternately focus on foreground and background“. As a result, we may start seeing holography introduced into various types of mediums.

Image by Jon Favreau via Iron Man 2.

Imagine playing a video game with a view of your environment similar to VR, except that you don’t have to wear a massive headset in order to enjoy it. Or watching a hockey game from home, except a hologram makes it appear in 3D like you’re actually there. Even a 3D, fully interactive university class from halfway around the world doesn’t sound too far-fetched.

These are just a handful of the things that could be possible over the next decade. IKIN’s primary goal is to “design a truly interactive, high-quality, and affordable holographic eco-system, in which, every person will be given the tools to create, interact, touch and feel stunning holographic environments right in the palm of their hands”. Not only can these holograms be touched and moved, but they integrate with AI and adapt to create better experiences.

Most importantly, if the technology is affordable, that means that the ultimate goal with experiencing entertainment is to have it be more accessible and inclusive to everyone. For a society in which finding new ways to communicate with one another is fundamental to our continued survival (e.g., Zoom), 3D holograms could be a way for us to better communicate when a physical location isn’t possible.

. . .

At techKNOWtutors, we realize that adapting to technology isn’t easy. Although most services have closed, we remain open – digitally – to answer your internet-related questions. If you need help with improving your digital literacy, send us an email at techknowtutors@cscnl.ca or join our Facebook group and send us a message.

Better yet, sign up for one of our online classes that we offer for FREE every week! Until then, stay in the techKNOW.

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