A hologram projector is a video projector that can display a two-dimensional (2D) image. Light is routed to a specific location, making the device efficient, and the projector has the capacity to produce video frame rates for a realistic hologram. It is a small device and can be integrated into laptops or mobile phones. The technology is mainly used in 2D applications, but models that can produce three-dimensional (3D) images are in development.
Calculations made by a microchip process hologram patterns. The light produced by the device undergoes diffraction, which can be controlled to form a high-quality image, all without a bulky lens. A liquid crystal display is built on top of the chip, on which the pattern looks like a cluster of dots, while laser light provides the illumination to project the image onto a wall or screen.
Various applications can benefit from a hologram projector, such as home entertainment and advertising. It also has potential for many businesses, automotive companies, as well as in the aerospace industry. The device can be mass produced inexpensively because the circuitry is built into a common type of field-programmable gate array, so a relatively new technology can be implemented using components that are already available.
3D devices are being designed, and one prototype even creates a tactile sensation when someone puts their finger out to touch the hologram. Ultrasound waves in the air allow a pressure sensation to be felt when the hologram is touched. The visual quality of the hologram is not affected. Video games could incorporate such technology, and there are an enormous number of current applications of holographs in the video game industry.
The idea of a hologram projector is not new, but the concept has been difficult to develop because incorporating holograms into video requires fast processing power. So many mathematical calculations take place that even powerful computers would take a long time to create individual video frames. Images projected this way have been low in quality, and the lasers required for the application have been very high-cost.
Several companies have caught onto technologies that can support the processing speed needed. The dynamics of a hologram projector allow for small parts, so it can be small enough to be incorporated into small electronics such as laptops or personal digital assistants (PDA). Video images can be created that, until recently, looked like something seen only in science fiction.