These are not medals…

I took this photograph of what looks like a box containing 4 medals. In fact it was a hologram of a box containing 4 medals - the most convincing hologram I have ever seen,

I took this photograph of what looks like a box containing 4 medals. In fact it was a picture of a glass plate - a hologram of a box containing 4 medals - the most convincing hologram I have ever seen. Click for a larger version

Sometimes a quantitive change makes a qualitative difference. And today I saw a hologram that was so much better than anything I had seen before that it changed my view of holograms completely! It is the nature of holograms that mere photographs fail to capture their realism, but I took the photograph above anyway, just to show how good the holograms were. I showed it to my colleagues and I had to explain to them that they weren’t looking at a box of medals!

What I was actually photographing was a glass plate, carefully illuminated by a bright white light. The picture below shows the same glass plate photographed from the side.

These are not medals02

Side view of the same glass plate - the distorted image of the medal ribbons can be just seen.

The team from Colour Holographic were visiting NPL to discuss possible collaborations and ways of making their holograms even more colour faithful. And as I stared in awe at their creation I imagined what this might be used for in the near future. The Colour Holographic team had holograms of several precious museum exhibits and it was clear it would make sense to display an expensive exhibit in this way, especially one that was light sensitive.

And it was clear to me how their their technology would evolve in the far future, because I had already seen the result in the controversial documentary ‘Star Wars‘. However, even though the Star Wars team had solved ‘the projection problem’ and ‘the movie problem’, they didn’t have the colour faithfulness of the holographs I saw today.

Princess Leia Moving Holograph

A moving holograph from the controversial documentary 'Star Wars'

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One Response to “These are not medals…”

  1. Ian Anderson Says:

    Michael, I agree that’s amazing, years ago i went to see Time with Cliff Richard on stage and that had a hologram which was quite scary

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