Electronics

Take rambling to the next level with holographic digital maps

Holographic ZScape Prints enable natural (no glasses!) 3D viewing and collaboration (Image: Zebra Imaging & Parsons Brinckerhoff)
Holographic ZScape Prints enable natural (no glasses!) 3D viewing and collaboration (Image: Zebra Imaging & Parsons Brinckerhoff)
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U.S. Soldiers prepare for a mission using Zebra Imaging's holograms as 3D maps (Image: Zebra Imaging & U.S. Army)
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U.S. Soldiers prepare for a mission using Zebra Imaging's holograms as 3D maps (Image: Zebra Imaging & U.S. Army)
A real-life object is placed on top of a stunning 3D hologram of a butterfly
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A real-life object is placed on top of a stunning 3D hologram of a butterfly
ZScape holograms of 3D data captured from HD Laser Scanning allow forensic examination and presentation of accident or crime scenes (Image: Zebra Imaging, Leica Geosystems & Precision Simulations, Inc)
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ZScape holograms of 3D data captured from HD Laser Scanning allow forensic examination and presentation of accident or crime scenes (Image: Zebra Imaging, Leica Geosystems & Precision Simulations, Inc)
Close-up of a ZScape 3D Holographic Print of downtown Seattle (Image: Zebra Imaging & Parsons Brinckerhoff)
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Close-up of a ZScape 3D Holographic Print of downtown Seattle (Image: Zebra Imaging & Parsons Brinckerhoff)
Engineering & construction companies use prints to visualize complicated 3D projects such as refineries and power plants (Image: Zebra Imaging & NET Engineering S.p.A)
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Engineering & construction companies use prints to visualize complicated 3D projects such as refineries and power plants (Image: Zebra Imaging & NET Engineering S.p.A)
Holographic ZScape Prints enable natural (no glasses!) 3D viewing and collaboration (Image: Zebra Imaging & Parsons Brinckerhoff)
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Holographic ZScape Prints enable natural (no glasses!) 3D viewing and collaboration (Image: Zebra Imaging & Parsons Brinckerhoff)

It wasn't so long ago when those wanting to visualize the landscape around them would have to use a topographic map and a fair bit of imagination. Nowadays we are spoilt by the immersive opportunities offered by the likes of Google Earth, or even GPS technology, but there's nothing quite like a holographic image for recreating a 3D representation of the surrounding terrain on a 2D surface. While the digital holographic prints produced by Zebra Imaging are not exactly as pocket-friendly as maps, they are quite simply stunning.

With the speed at which technology is moving, it won't be too long before those of us who like to wander through the streets and ramble through the countryside will be able to reach into our pockets for a lifelike three-dimensional representation of the terrain in front of us. The cutting edge combination of laser, optics and image processing technology used by Zebra Imaging already allows for the creation of lifelike 3D holographic visualizations in a format that can be rolled up and transported around.

The company takes three-dimensional digital data from sources like CAD models, laser scans and satellite imagery and produces a single portable, film-based hologram that can be made to jump out from the surface with the aid of a halogen or LED light source. Zebra explains that "the light is reflected and controlled by hogels and combines and emerges from the hologram surface in the same way it would if a solid physical model were actually there."

A real-life object is placed on top of a stunning 3D hologram of a butterfly
A real-life object is placed on top of a stunning 3D hologram of a butterfly

The end product can bring a landscape to life or allow engineers to view component designs from a number of different perspectives... or just wow an audience. The technology offers a three-dimensional viewing experience of static objects or scenes without the need for special glasses, and is said to allow onlookers to enjoy 360 degrees of image continuity.

Zebra Imaging's full-color or monochrome solutions benefit from protective coatings for durability and can also be annotated. Up to four images can be combined in one holographic print and, being actual physical products, there's no need to worry about keeping up to date with firmware updates on computerized equipment.

The company says that thousands of prints have been used for visualization and defense planning by the U.S. military. Mapping and surveying, engineering and construction, and architecture and design are amongst Zebra's main production markets.

Color ZScape pricing starts at US$1,500 for a 12 x 18-inch print. A monochrome flavor of the same size is priced at US$700.

The company's Michael Klug introduces the technology in the following video:

3 comments
Charles Bosse
Ah, darn! Where is that extra $1.5k I was planning on spending on a 3d TV? That said, this is quite possibly the best way I can think of to advertise. Maybe we will see a few of these before the holiday season is done.
Ross Mcewen-Page
Iron II man style! Awesome
Facebook User
This is a very cool product but I was most amused by the fact that he has a model of The Tick on the right side of the video there. One of the least known \"super\" heroes out there :)