If there's one thing Star Wars and Star Trek fans can agree on it's that holograms will play a big role in our future. The technology pops up in plenty of sci-fi stories, but it's still not a part of our everyday life. Now one company is looking to change that with a holographic projector that's easy to use.
The Holovect, a $700 machine that can project customizable interactive images into the air, is available now on Kickstarter.
The Holovect is a totally new type of product with some clever technology behind it. The device works by shooting out modified air that's been made extra reflective. It then shoots concentrated light into the same space to create a 3D image. Jaime Ruiz-Avila, who developed the Holovect, described it as "painting" the air with a laser in an interview with TechnoBuffalo.
Each projected object is drawn over and over at a rate of 33 times per second to create a persistent image. The current box is small enough to sit on your desk and can project 3D images up to about 10 meters away. It's also limited to a single green color, though future versions could be a lot more powerful.
"I could see us scaling up very large to several meters," said Ruiz-Avila, adding that he wants to eventually include the full RGB color model as well. The main issue holding back these features is the price, and for now it makes sense to ship more versions of a less powerful device than the opposite. "The whole idea we had was to make a small unit people could experiment with," he said.
There's still plenty you can do with the current Holovect. Ruiz-Avila says multiple companies have approached with the idea of turning it into a rotating holographic advertisement. You can also move these virtual objects in real time and even combine them, making it possible to create simple interactive games like Pong.
The device has industrial applications too, especially for anyone working with 3D printers. Using the Holovect you can input the design for an object and analyze it in real space instead of wasting time and resources physically printing each new model.
Uploading an object to the Holovect is as simple as plugging in a USB key. In the future Ruiz-Avila also wants to build a site where people can share their own creations and see what others have done.
Down the road as the Holovect becomes more complex it could be used as a communication tool, like the holograms in Star Wars. A big enough version could even allow for a room like Star Trek's Holodeck that can transform to suit your every need, though you wouldn't be able to actually touch the holograms.
But for any of that to happen Holovect has to hit its crowdfunding goals first. The company is hoping to raise $350,000 to get the project off the ground. If you're interested in ordering your own holographic projector or just offering a a bit of money to help hit the Kickstarter link below.