LitiHolo Introduces World’s First Desktop 3D Hologram Printer
The idea of hologram printing has been in people’s minds for a long time, and to this day researchers and companies are making advances in the field, trying to get closer to the ideal hologram print. The latest progress comes from the company LitiHolo, as the business introduced the world’s first 3D hologram printer for people to use at home.
What has been a long time dream for many, could soon become normal for everybody. The ability for anyone around the world to print real three-dimensional holograms at home or in an office is one step closer to becoming reality. LitiHolo, a global leader in hologram production and technology, unveiled its Desktop 3D Hologram Printer. Read on to find out more about the history of hologram printing and what the current advancements look like!
History of Hologram Printing
Even though everybody has heard of them, holograms have remained out of reach for most people to make themselves or at home. Yet, the solution for improved 3D visualization could lead back to a 60-year-old technology reshaped for the digital world, namely holograms. Scientists have wanted to make computer-generated holograms for a long time, but the process has usually required a supercomputer to churn through physics simulations, which is time-consuming and can produce less-than-photorealistic results. However, by now, the technology has made huge advances.
Initially developed in the mid-1900s, holograms used to be recorded optically. By splitting a laser beam, with half the beam used as a reference for the light waves’ phase and the other half employed to light the subject. This creates a hologram’s unique sense of depth. The subsequent images were stationary, which means they couldn’t capture motion. Furthermore, they were hard copy only, making them problematic to share and reproduce.
Computer-generated holography circumvents these challenges by simulating the optical setup. However as mentioned earlier, running the physics simulations takes time for every single hologram-image. One of the advances the technology has made is the switch from letting the supercomputers run the physics simulations to letting them teach physics to itself.
Scientists used deep learning to accelerate computer-generated holography, permitting real-time hologram creation. The team designed a neural network — a processing technique that uses a chain of trainable tensors to mimic how humans take in visual data. Developing a neural network requires a high-quality, large dataset, which didn’t formerly exist for 3D holograms.
They constructed a custom database of 4,000 pairs of computer-generated images. By learning from each image couple, the network adjusted the parameters of its own calculations, consecutively enhancing its capability to make holograms. The entirely optimized network worked through big hologram orders faster than physics-based calculations, making it much more efficient.
Holograms bring an extraordinary depiction of the 3D world around us, while looking astonishing at the same time. They offer a fluid perspective created by the viewer’s position, and they let the eye to regulate focal complexity to interchangeably focus on foreground and background.
Hologram Printing from Home
LitiHolo produces hologram kits and they also manufacture a selection of holography film that enables hologram production without chemical usage. Development of the Desktop 3D Hologram Printer is a great breakthrough in LitiHolo’s mission to make true hologram technology more accessible and affordable for the masses. The printer is designed to let users make their own holographic images from the comfort of their home, with the printer being only a little bigger than a regular home version.
The printer creates true holograms that can be viewed without glasses or headsets, providing a unique 3D experience that can effortlessly be viewed and shared with other people. That means printer users can design everything from 3D computer graphics scenes to hologram portraits that can be seen as true three-dimensional holograms.
The printer takes multiple angle pictures, captured from video footage, a camera, or rendered from a typical 3D graphics design, and cuts them into unique recordings for each separate pixel on the hologram. This is called a “hogel” or “hologram element” and each hogel’s size is 0,03×0,03 inches (1×1 mm). The printer then etches that hogel data with modulated light onto the special hologram film, which is self-developed by the company, to create a bright and clear hologram. In its completed version, the hologram recreates the numerous diverse viewpoints as if the 3D image is actually there. This gives the ability to look around the image to perceive different perspectives, even from underneath and above. Based on the viewing angle it can also seem like it is moving.
The final result is a somewhat pixelated image with a red overtone. The printer can produce holograms up to 4×5 in (10.1×12.7 cm), with a 45-degree field of view. Due to the fact that up to 23 images per pixel can be encrypted, the holograms can present several seconds of motion as the viewer moves their head or tilts the image.
Usage and Future
As LitiHolo mentions, this printer is not only designed to entertain people who want to 3D print holograms of videos or photos, as it is also useful to produce holograms from CAD designs, 3D art and 3D computer graphics. It has a wide variety of uses and all that’s needed is a computer and the printer.
“Holography has evolved a great deal in the 60 years since its introduction and we view our Desktop 3D Hologram Printer as an important next step in bringing this technology to the masses. For the first time, the power to create true holograms will be accessible to anyone with one of our printers, which opens up a whole new world of hologram possibilities,”
said Paul Christie, LitiHolo CEO and MIT Media Lab alumni. Next to private use, LitiHolo believes its Desktop 3D Hologram Printer can be a door opener for holography to influence industries such as engineering, entertainment and architecture.
Would you get a hologram printer for your own home? And if you had one at your home, what would be the first thing you print? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!