The first time I can remember seeing holograms was way back in the 1977 Science Fiction classic, Star Wars ,where we saw a tiny version of Princess Leia projected from R2D2. Now, only 36 years later, life-size holograms could eventually be a reality in our own living room.
A fledgling Los Angeles-based technology company, Provision 3D Media, is trying to raise $950,000 on Kickstarter to make its hologram technology life-size. Right now, the company has successfully developed its “HoloVision” displays in small sizes, starting around 3 inches and ranging up to as large as 52 inches. Since the technology is a scalable one, CEO Curt Thornton informed tech company Mashable that they’ve turned to the Kickstarter community to get funds to tool, test and go through the trial-and-error process in order to achieve a working prototype for a life-size hologram. Thornton said the HoloVision technology will be different that other holograms because his company would like to reinvent the light source that produces the image. Instead of the company using laser technology, he said they will develop a “new proprietary light source” to provide the “horsepower” to produce something the size of a human being.
The specifics of the patented technology and proprietary processes were not detailed. However, a digital file would be put through a proprietary light source that would be processed and eventually a floating image would be produced. Thornton explained that a project like this is “the beginning of the manifestation of bringing Hollywood science-fiction to life.”
Life-size holograms could have uses at retail locations like clothing stores and furniture departments within shopping malls, maybe to demo large products or serve as virtual greeters; but they also could be used around the home, Thornton said. It could be applied to gaming as well, he explained. “There’s a very large community of gamers out there whether it’s an Xbox, PlayStation, Wii or even PC gamers, that love to have virtual environments and are immersed in that environment,” Thornton said. Once Provision 3D Media gets a life-size prototype working, the company plans on revealing the technology at a Los Angeles event, followed by a road show to other cities such as San Francisco, New York, Austin and Chicago. Later this year, the company is integrating its smaller holographic displays at RiteAid stores, so customers can access wellness information, as well as promotional content, product samples, rewards and coupons.
Thornton states that this retail use is disruptive technology to capture the eye of people in a store (like in the movie, Minority Report). In the future, Thornton said his company hopes this holographic technology will be accessible to all “, not only just the science-fiction buffs and the technology geeks of the world, but the everyday person that really just wants to have that next-generation experience.” Backers of Provision 3D Media’s Kickstarter project can get a static analog, three-inch HoloVision device (shown below) for pledges of $299 (limited) or $349. For a pricier $7,500 pledge, backers can get the digital HoloVision device but only a 17-inch version. With still 19 days left to go in the Kickstarter campaign, backers had pledged a bit over $11,000 out of the $950,000 goal. What do you think about life-size holograms? Will they be the norm very soon? Or are we going to have to defend ourselves against the machines…iRobot comes to mind…
[Image via crosslinkblog]