Sci-Fi to Sci-Life

Are holograms still dreams of the future, or are they becoming reality?

Sci-Fi to Sci-Life

Beatrice Shen, Staff Writer

For decades, holograms have been the staple symbol for future scientific innovation. The ability to create a 3-dimensional diagram out of nothing but light and thin air. However, this dream-like haze of an idea may be becoming a tangible materiality. 

Everyone has seen this futuristic invention in their favorite Sci-Fi movie, hovering over a table or interacting with their favorite characters. Viewers would watch in awe, most doubtful that they would ever get to see one so real in their own lifetime. But, for today’s young viewers, this is very likely to change. 

But first, it should be clarified: what actually is a hologram? Because scientists and special effects artists have already been utilizing light techniques that trick the brain for years. For example, movies that you get to watch with fancy 3-D glasses, no matter how cool and mind-boggling they may be, aren’t considered holograms. A true hologram is not confined by a container or can only be viewed by certain angles. What we want is a high resolution 3-D image that can be viewed from any angle and still look astoundingly real. And lucky for us, science has found a way to work towards making that happen. 

For example, one company, Light Field Lab, has created a new technology called SolidLight that causes light waves to interact with one another in a way that is visible to the eye. In doing so, they create the illusion of an entire object made of light. These pixel interactions are much more complex than that of a phone or TV. One of their product goals is to replace the standard idea of a foosball table with a holographic soccer pitch where you can play against your friends. 

Not only could holograms be fun entertainment for you and your friends, but they could also be life-changing for mankind. The medical field alone would benefit infinitely from the use of holograms. From holographic microscopes to holographic diagrams of patient organs or tumors, holography would greatly benefit abilities to treat patients, as well as contribute to blooming scientific studies. 

“Most people know that fictional holograms exist through movies and TV, but probably don’t know that holograms are currently used in the world today,” Jacob DeWese (‘24) said. “The best thing I think holograms can do is save space as you won’t need a screen or flat surface to project light onto, but I think the practical uses of them are limited. To me, trying to create holograms is just a means of achieving a goal that was once devised in science fiction, and the cost it will require to produce holograms isn’t worth it’s practical applications.”

DeWese’s perspective proves that there is doubt throughout the community that holograms would be an invaluable piece of technology for humankind. However, there is certainty that with the marriage of science and imagination, holograms would be the ultimate exemplar for turning the unfathomable ideas of the future into the present.



Photo Credits to Singularity Hub