We’ve all watched film series like Star Wars and Marvel, where we see ingenious devices projecting and refracting light such that it forms a three-dimensional image – a hologram.
Holograms are vastly regarded to be a thing of the future, and they are presented to be able to convey a message or image much more effectively than modern means, but people forget that the first hologram was invented in 1848, by a Hungarian scientist called Dennis Gabor. Holograms are not as advanced as they seem – you can make a hologram using an old CD case. Therefore, it is definitely possible for holograms to become commonplace in such a revolutionising world. Let’s look at how they might be used in the workplace:
We can all imagine a little, blue, partially translucent soldier giving a message about how the rebels have taken the galactic outpost, but how else can we use holograms to communicate? Well, it seems that holographic televisions are already well underway, as five years prior, the BBC created a holographic television to model what might be commonplace in every household in the near future. The television is a thin, clear screen with a projector underneath. Holograms are projected onto the screen, partially translucent and without any background imagery.
It has also been discovered that Samsung has registered a patent around this time about the development of a similar model. DVEHolographics, a company in California, has successfully conducted the first Zoom meeting using these models. They have also established what is likely the first of many holographic meeting studios, where companies can rent a room full of these monitors to conduct a holographic business meeting.
Looking towards the near future, there is great potential in the Microsoft Mesh project. It operates using 3D headsets that can project holograms into the surrounding area. These holograms are shown to accurately model the facial, bodily and gestural features of both the user and any avatar they may wish to use to retain their anonymity. The holographs can also represent an object or place, such as the structure of a car or the trajectory of a plane. The headset is also compatible with messaging apps like Microsoft teams and Zoom, where it projects a holographic screen similar to the aforementioned holographic TV model to host the meeting. So it seems that we will not have to imagine very hard, the gulf between movie fiction and reality.
One of the main uses for a three dimensional projection is how it can present a more captivating image than a monitor or whiteboard can – think how much more immersive it would be to model a building in three dimensions rather than two! This is the exact purpose of the Snoezelen House in Denmark, founded in 1987, which uses holograms to model therapeutic rooms for the severely disabled. Since then, this concept of architecture has also been adopted by Euclideon, who produced a holographic table – a table that creates a holographic image of cities, vehicles and other large structures. And, as this table is already fully functional, it needs only to be mass produced for every office firm to have one. As mentioned earlier, the ongoing Microsoft Mesh project will also be able to create such images, but will not be confined to one area. The concept of holographic presentation is about to become worldwide reality.
Stemming from the idea of a hologram being more immersive than a picture, we can think about how holograms might be used for advertising. Imagine walking into a supermarket and seeing a hologram presenting how the supermarket sources their wine, or imagine walking on the high street and seeing a giant, overhead projection advertising a music concert. Surprisingly, devices that can project a holographic logo are already being marketed, especially in China. These devices take an image from another device and project that image above the device. They are small enough to be able to be placed anywhere, and can function using WIFI or a cable connection.
Brands like Adidas and Coca Cola are starting to use holographic marketing, to great effect, with the latter reporting a 12% increase in sales in Mexico. It is therefore likely that other businesses will follow suit, and start to use their own forms of holographic marketing, big or small.
If we are to envision the possibilities of holographic technology, we must think about actually storing the hologram in question. A functional holographic data storage has already been established – instead of data being stored using magnets or lasers on the surface of the medium, holographic storage would store data throughout the medium itself – the electrons in a single laser would be split so as to form light and dark fringes that would project the desired hologram. The first instance of holographic storage was first produced in 1975 by Hitachi – the device stored light, sheen and sound information holographically. Since 2009, a holographic data storage has been developed which will function similarly to Blu – Ray. Now that’s all well and good that these holograms have been made a reality, but are they efficient enough to hold a large enough amount of data in a small enough space? Can data be read from and written to holographic memory at a reasonable rate? Is this holographic data store fragile and easily corrupted? Thankfully, a 10 mm holographic disc can hold up to 1 terabyte of data and it is estimated that holographic storage has a read/write speed of sub 0.2 seconds. The file itself will remain pristine for at least 50 years. You could therefore see a cabinet chock full of these discs, with important statistical data, being slotted and projected in an instant.
The Projected Future of Holograms
In conclusion, holographic technology is versatile and efficient. It has already been developed for quite some time, the better part of a century, such that it is already being freely marketed in some companies, and that large corporations are already starting to use it for advertising purposes. It goes without saying then, that holographic technology will inevitably be commonplace in businesses and the workplace in the near future.
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