Holograms are light field recordings that, when reproduced, can appear as static or dynamic three-dimensional visuals. The term is also more generally applied to any image that is rendered to appear in 3D. We see potential applications by companies in entertainment, medical, advertising and telecommunications. Looking further ahead, perfecting hologram technology represents a critical step in the future of mixed reality technology, giving depth and detail to volumetric forms and achieving a convincing sense of realism.
In the past few years, hologram technology has been used to create virtual concert performances, using the likenesses of bygone artists. With many of music’s highest grossing touring acts nearing the end of their careers and lives, and with encouraging sales data from recent tours featuring holograms of stars like Roy Orbison (produced by Base Hologram) and Frank Zappa (produced by Eyellusion), holographic tech looks poised to unlock a new corner of the events market. Elsewhere in entertainment, rapper Chief Keef used holograms to perform live in Illinois from a soundstage in Los Angeles. The German Circus Roncalli created digital stand-ins to avoid the costly and controversial use of live animals, and the Coachella music festival featured the computer-generated Japanese holographic act Hatsune Miku.
In the medical field, such 3D mapping could provide doctors with a 360-degree view of a patient’s internal organs, vessels, bones, and tissue and could assist with diagnostics and surgeries. The technology also paves the way for “holoporting” when it comes to both personal and professional telecommunications. Facilitated through the use of a head-mounted display, holoporting would let people communicate in person via holographs—your friend’s likeness would be projected in dynamic physical form in your physical office space. Think of it like a full-body 3D video chat where the person you’re speaking to can appear to interact with objects in your environment. As it evolves, this technology will likely revolutionize web-based social interaction, as well as remote workplace training and collaboration.
Though scalable in certain event contexts, affordable consumer hologram hardware isn’t available. The functionality, too, is not yet advanced and accessible enough to fuel demand. Expect to hear more about holograms, however, as engineers improve resolution, volumetrics, and depth of field, and as 5G enables the high-bandwidth instantaneous data transfer speeds needed for lifelike holographic streaming. To evolve beyond virtual and augmented reality, it will be critical to create dynamic 3D forms, which includes accurate digital reproduction of faces, bodies, and other complex structures. Holograms and hologram-related technology will play an increasingly significant role in our everyday lives, especially as smart eyewear begins to replace the smartphone as our primary personal device.
This trend is part of our section on Emerging Digital Interfaces. Other trends in this section include:
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