Innovation explained: Holograms

Just like flying cars, holograms play a decisive role in the history of science fiction films. From “Back to the Future” to “Iron Man” to “Blade Runner”. The cityscapes of the future are interspersed with lifelike holograms. Holographic technology has always seemed futuristic, but so far it has been difficult to imagine it outside films and video games. But the development is further than many people know, because already today we can create holograms that go far beyond science fiction.

Holograms – the next level of communication

Before we go any deeper into the current application scenarios, we first have to question what holograms actually are. Holography is a photographic technique that captures the light scattered by an object and then presents it three-dimensionally.

In the course of the years the holograms were always developed further, so that one can regard today holograms from different perspectives or partly even interact with them.

How 3D holograms work (Source: Physics Girl)


In its purest form, however, holograms depend on laser light to illuminate the object and create the final hologram. If everything runs smoothly during this process, a holographic image cannot be optically distinguished from the original object under optimal conditions.


Application areas for holograms

One area of application that quickly comes to mind for holograms is advertising. Films such as Minority Report and Blade Runner show what effect holographic individual advertisements can have. Even if it appears futuristic in the films, holograms were used in advertising much earlier. In the 1970s, car manufacturers often used cylindrical holograms to present a new vehicle model. A potential buyer could walk around the tube and look at the vehicle from all angles.


10 Most Advanced HologramS that are INSANE! (Source: TTI)


Currently the race for the hologram market begins. With the HoloLens, Microsoft has taken a big step in this area. Forecasts predict that the market for genuine display holograms will have a volume of 5.5 billion US dollars by 2020.
Some applications beyond advertising can be found in medicine, where it is possible to put the patient’s disease data directly on them, but also in the entertainment industry, which has holographically brought back stars such as Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson and Tupac who died in the past.

A less obvious, but no less impressive application is data storage. Due to the extremely precise and realistic recordings, in which objects can be recorded multidimensionally, a huge amount of information can be stored and reproduced with a hologram. Current prototype systems can not only store 4.4 million individual pages of information on a DVD-like disc, but also offer long-term security in safekeeping.

Holographic technology will lead to major changes in many industries and has the power to significantly influence our daily lives. With current developments, such as HoloFlex, a glasses-free display developed by researchers at the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University, holograms are becoming increasingly suitable for everyday use. The application possibilities for mature holograms are almost unlimited, from cartography to architecture or telemedicine. In a few years, what we know as pure fiction from Star Wars Iron Man will become reality after so many decades.



Post picture: Iron Man 2 / Marvel

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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