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These glasses-free ‘holograms’ are as close to the real thing as we may ever get

Published Jul 5th, 2017 6:29PM EDT
real hologram

We’ve seen so many examples of technology that was once science fiction become reality that it’s hard to believe true holograms as many think of them — like the floating Princess Leia in Star Wars — are still firmly in the realm of fantasy. But now, a new experiment shows off technology that can seriously blur the line between fiction and reality, and make you believe that sci-fi holograms actually exist.

Almost all modern attempts to simulate the effect of an actual three-dimensional object made purely out of light are merely tricks that make your eyes and brain think you’re seeing something you’re really not, and most of them aren’t really all that convincing. This new technique, developed by a French artist named Joanie Lemercier, uses two dimensional projections paired with a motion sensor to make the image appear to be fully 3D. Lemercier calls it the “no-logram.”

It works without glasses, using a motion camera to detect where the viewer is in the space and adjust the projection in real time to match their perspective. The result is an extremely convincing image that looks like it has depth and volume despite being completely flat.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the motion tracking and the projection itself, the image can only display correctly for one viewer at a time. Lemercier hopes so solve that in the future by developing a system that uses water particles and pressurized gas to create something that actually has three dimensional depth that the “no-logram” can only simulate.