Desktop hologram printer produces custom 3D motion art at home
Holograms are one of those sci-fi promises that always seem to remain just out of reach. Now a former MIT Media Lab researcher is crowdfunding a desktop 3D hologram printer that can create images that pop out in 3D, and even appear to move.
While reflective screens, headsets and even live shows by dead performers all masquerade as holograms, technically the term refers to a specific kind of 3D image encoded in a 2D surface. They’re made with lasers that etch information into a special film with modulated light, so that multiple perspectives can be encoded into each pixel. The end result is an image that looks 3D, and can even seem to move based on the viewing angle.
These holograms have long appeared on everything from baseball cards to credit card security tags. As ubiquitous as they are though, holograms have remained out of reach for most people to make themselves. And that’s the niche that Paul Christie and his company LitiHolo set out to fill.
LitiHolo’s 3D Hologram Printer is designed to let users create their own holographic images at home. Only a little bigger than a regular home printer, the system can take 3D models from services like Sketchfab, Qlone, or other 3D rendering programs, and convert those into holograms. Apparently users can even snap their own pan-around videos with a smartphone camera, and print those out.
The end result is a rather pixelated image with a red overtone. LitHolo says that the printer can produce holograms up to 4 x 5 in (10.1 x 12.7 cm), with a 45-degree field of view. Since up to 23 images can be encoded per pixel, the holograms can display several seconds of motion as the viewer tilts the image or moves their head.
The tech is kinda cool, and could be put to good use to make some eye-catching pieces of 3D art for your home. That said, we’re not entirely sure how many casual users would find much use out of it. Perhaps it’s better suited for small businesses or Etsy-based artists wanting to sell custom holographic art.
Either way, it looks like LitiHolo has found its audience. The Kickstarter campaign has already more than doubled its US$30,000 goal with 26 days still to go. Pledges start at $899 for the printer itself, and if all goes to plan, delivery should begin around October this year.