The concept of the hologram has been a sci-fi dream for decades. Indeed, hologram tables themselves have popped up here and there, however, never truly saw full development. That is mainly because, in the past, they just have not worked as people wanted.
The issue is this: a hologram is a computer-generated stereo image, much like the kind of images you see when watching a 3D film. But, with a hologram, if you have got a group of people standing around a table, looking at the same image, they will all see the same perspective on it. The image will not change as they move around, and thus, not breaking the spell! Nevertheless, holographic images that float in three dimensions and you can wave your hand through, are finally a reality!
Euclideon, an Australian company, believes it has cracked the code and built the world’s first working multi-user holographic table. This table allows up to four people to see and interact with holographic images floating in the air before them, all whilst standing at different viewing angles.
The company reached notoriety after creating the Unlimited Detail (UD) 3D graphics engine, causing quite an agitation in the gaming community when it was first showcased in 2011.
Absolutely huge virtual spaces have been rendered into systems, allowing a viewer to move through the 3D environment without excess strain on processor technology. They used low-end computers and no special graphics cards to achieve their results.
The UD never took off as a large scale gaming engine. Nevertheless, it has here applications as an outstanding engine for 3D imagining; zoom in onto the smallest details on presented cities, object manipulation and, obviously, gaming.
The only catch is that users have to wear a small pair of motion trackable glasses, very similar to 3D glasses that you have more than likely previously tried. You will not need any bulky VR or AR helmets and screens, making them much more relevant in a social meeting or gaming situation. What you will need is the smart table with the multi projection holographic display built-in!
When you are wearing these glasses, the table can track the position of each of your eyes, and generate a personalised image for each eye. Using frequency separation crystal films in both the table surface and the glasses, it can sort out separate images from what looks like a muddle of coloured lights to the naked eye. This allows users to experience a binocular stereo image that looks amazingly how holograms are depicted in Star Wars!
Obviously, taking one gigantic 3D model and generating eight different, moving perspectives in real-time, should put a huge strain on the graphics engine. However, this software is extraordinarily fast yet gentle on processing demands. This makes the hologram table exceptionally effective as a boardroom presentation tool.
There is currently one 1.5m by 1.5m prototype table. Hopes are for sales of this to start from mid-2018 for around £36,000. Larger versions, which users can stroll around on, are also in the pipeline. That should be pretty spectacular when it is ready!