Get the basics out first, as I can always hear confusion between these two techs: Holograms are three-dimensional images that are created by light interference patterns. To make a hologram, a laser beam is split into two beams that pass-through lenses to expand them. One beam (the reference beam) is directed onto high-contrast film. The other beam is aimed at the object (the object beam). The light from the object beam reflects off the object and onto the film, where it interferes with the reference beam. The film records the interference pattern, which contains information about the shape, color, and texture of the object.
On the other hand, holographic displays and headsets are devices that can project holograms into the real world or onto a transparent screen. There are different types of holographic displays and headsets, but one common method is to use a high-definition or 4K screen to reflect digital content through glass with special coating, called the glass optics. When placed at a certain angle, the glass optic will create an illusion that makes your brain interpret the digital content as three-dimensional. Another method is to use light projection to create digital objects that appear to float in midair. Holographic headsets like HoloLens use color sequential, see-through RGB displays to render holograms. The headsets also have sensors and cameras that track the user’s head movement and the environment and adjust the holograms accordingly.
There are different types of holographic displays and headsets, and they have different features, advantages, and disadvantages. Some of the factors that can be used to compare them are:
- The distinction between AR and VR: AR headsets like HoloLens overlay digital content onto the real world, whereas VR headsets like Windows Mixed Reality immerse the user in a virtual environment.
- The field of view: This is the extent of the visible area that the user can see through the device. Some holographic displays and headsets can provide a wide field of view, such as 90 degrees or more, while others have a narrower field of view, such as 40 degrees or less.
- The size and weight: This affects the comfort and portability of the device. Some holographic displays and headsets are bulky and heavy, while others are thin and light, like sunglasses.
- The price: This reflects the affordability and accessibility of the device. Some holographic displays and headsets are very expensive, costing thousands of dollars, while others are more affordable, costing hundreds of dollars or less.
- The platform and compatibility: This determines the software and hardware requirements and the availability of content and applications for the device. Some holographic displays and headsets run on specific platforms, such as Windows or Android, while others are more open and compatible with various devices and systems.
So, what should you buy? Here is a table of comparison of some of the most popular holographic displays and headsets:
|Oculus Quest 2||VR||90 degrees||503 g||$299||Android, Oculus app|
|Microsoft HoloLens 2||AR||52 degrees||566 g||$3,500||Windows 10, Azure|
|Magic Leap One||AR||50 degrees||316 g||$2,295||Lumin OS, Magic Leap app|
|Epson Moverio BT-300||AR||23 degrees||69 g||$699||Android, Moverio app|
|Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2||AR||20 degrees||46 g||$999||Android, Google app|
|Raptor AR headset||AR||13.5 degrees||98 g||$699||Android, Raptor app|
There are numerous more out there, like the Nvidia Holographic VR, which is a technology that uses a holographic optical element to project a light field onto the user’s eyes, creating a 3D effect without the need for eye tracking or lenses. It is still in development and aims to improve the realism, comfort, and immersion of VR, or the Ikin Ryz, which is a device that connects to a smartphone and creates a holographic image that can be seen and interacted with by multiple users without glasses. It uses a patented light field technology and a nanochip to generate the holograms. For large scale
And what you should be careful about? There are many different display technologies, and they have different characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages. Some of the factors that can be used to compare them are:
- The screen shape: This affects the viewing angle, the aspect ratio, and the distortion of the image. Some display technologies have flat screens, while others have curved screens, such as spherical, cylindrical, or concave.
- The screen size: This affects the resolution, the brightness, and the power consumption of the display. Some display technologies can produce very large screens, while others are limited by physical or technical constraints.
- The screen type: This affects the color reproduction, the contrast ratio, the response time, and the refresh rate of the display. Some display technologies are emissive, meaning they produce their own light, such as OLED, Plasma, and MicroLED, while others are transmissive, meaning they rely on a backlight, such as LCD and its derivatives.
- The screen quality: This affects the image clarity, the brightness uniformity, the viewing angle, and the color accuracy of the display. Some display technologies have higher quality screens than others, depending on the pixel density, the subpixel arrangement, the color gamut, and the backlight technology.
- The screen durability: This affects the lifespan, the reliability, and the environmental impact of the display. Some display technologies are more durable than others, depending on the material, the manufacturing process, the power consumption, and the susceptibility to burn-in, dead pixels, or image retention.