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Holaplex is a tiny 3D stage for visualizations on mobile devices

Displays continue to get brighter and sharper, but most of them have a significant limitation. They can only display images in two dimensions. Even “3D” displays only provide an illusion of depth. You can’t, for example, see what objects look like from the side or rear.

Holapex is a small, pyramid-like device designed to sit on top of a smartphone or tablet and display holograms. It comes in two sizes optimized for a smartphone or tablet and of course uses a companion app to display them. Things seem pretty early for the project as creator Isaias J. Perez is still working out what the source of the holograms will be. However, the device is only $25 and is due to be delivered in November. Perez seeks only $600 by October 28th.

The Holapex is an inexpensive and possibly useful amusement but of course it’s a far cry from the degree of interaction one can experience with something as sophisticated as Microsoft’s Hololens. Still, it can provide exposure to holograms for a very broad audience in the way Google Cardboard provides affordable exposure to virtual reality.


Voxbox makes holographic technology more accessible

Holographic technology has been around for a while, but only recently has professional-grade holography made its way to the consumer market. In the past, many people likely only experienced holograms in their homes as part of cheap CD or DVD packaging.

Voxbox is a new video device that was designed to make pro holographic technology more accessible to consumers. The Voxbox viewer has a smaller, 8-inch screen than Holographic Optical Technologies’ prior device that was targeted at the pro market, and the new version can be used on a desk or hung on a wall. A starter pack including Voxbox and one of the company’s Voxgram holograms costs $200 via Kickstarter and will ship in September. It wasn’t immediately clear what the company will charge after the campaign. It is hoping to raise $200,000 by May 22.

The Voxbox produced true holograms, that is, images that float in front of the screen. The quality of its imagery, though, is not entirely clear from the campaign video. That can be a tough thing to capture in two dimensions. And while they are really more augmented reality products that true holography products, there is sure to be much competition from the Microsoft HoloLens and a secretive project by startup Magic Leap.


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Bleen promises to project 3-D images in midair

Plenty of science fiction novels, movies, and games have featured 3-D holographic imagery projected from a simple device. From Princess Leia’s plea for help in Star Wars to Cortana’s guidance throughout the Halo games, the transportable 3-D hologram projector is something humans have dreamed about for decades.

Bleen is almost identical to what many people would expect this technology to take form as. Appearing as a large egg or polyhedral rock, the Bleen projector opens up to display buttons and an upward-facing projector that can form a 3-D image over eight feet in the air above the device. With basic applications like movies and games, to interactive workouts and musical performances, Bleen is trying to give the hologram its place in the personal entertainment space.

Bleen has its own marketplace where developers and users can create their own content for download, recorded using the device’s hundreds of high resolution cameras and displayed with fast-pulse laser beams. Bleen is still in its concept phase and needs $225,000 to move forward. Donating $400 to the campaign ($225 now and $175 at the time of shipping) will get consumers a Bleen in the color and shape of their choice. The release date is not firm at this time, but is tentatively set for October 2015.

This is one of those science fiction-turned-reality kind of devices that is so exciting to imagine how it will work and become a part of daily life. As is usually the case, it may turn out to be pure novelty, but anyone wanting personal holograms will want to back Bleen. It may not be quite ready for the mass market, but holograms in the home and a background that dates to technology in the USSR should be enough for some.

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Holho holograms float animated images atop your tablet display

The Premise. From Star Trek to Coachella, people have been waiting for the day that holograms become a staple in every home. The technology has existed in primitive forms for decades, but it’s always been too costly and complicated for personal use.

The Product. The Holho Full Pyramid can take any smartphone or tablet and turn it into a hologram projector without any modifications or complex installations.  By simply placing the full pyramid on the device’s screen in cooperation with the proprietary Holho app, any image or video properly converted can be displayed inside the pyramid and becomes fully rotatable.

The Pitch. A series of videos displays how the Holho system works on both smartphones and tablets and how owners can even make their own hologram version of Star Wars with a little movie magic. Imagination Farm which already has a Web site going for the product, seeks 8,500 euros to complete the project: the cost of a steel mold, pre-ordering the pyramid base in multiple colors, and finishing the companion app.

The Perks. Twenty-five euros gets you a Holho Full Pyramid for a smartphone, the app, and 4 videos for use with the app available as early as April or May of this year. €50 offers the same reward but for a larger Pyramid designed for 10” tablet screens. Additional money can be spent on purchasing more videos for use with the app or multiple Pyramids. For €438, Holho will create a video of a rotating cube with photos or videos of your choosing on its sides. Distributors can reserve 50 smartphone-sized Pyramids and 50 tablet-sized pyramids for €3,250

The Potential. While it’s certainly a low-tech solution to the absence of holograms in the home, the Holho system is a long way off from having Tupac do that concert in your living room that you’ve always wanted. The need for it to be used in conjunction with a smartphone or tablet at all times also prevents it from being used as a long-term decoration when you’ll undoubtedly need that device for something else. The high cost of the simple videos and thin novelty means that this product probably won’t revolutionize entertainment, but it could definitely be an interesting gift idea for that friend you met in the holodeck.