New ‘Solid Light’ 3D Holographic Display Can Give Photos Depth

Light Field Labs Solid Light Display

Science fiction has repeatedly promised a future filled with holographic 3D displays, but that fantasy has always eluded reality — until now. A startup says it has created a new “solid light” display that renders photos and videos in three dimensions.

Photography and filmmaking have historically only existed in two dimensions without the aid of specialized headwear and viewing angles, but a new technology developed by Silicon Valley startup Light Field Lab wants to change that. The company has developed what appears to be the first successful 3D holographic display that can provide a true sense of depth to content from a variety of angles and free of glasses.

The company explains that in real life, light photons travel in all directions, ultimately reflecting bundles of rays that human eyes interpret as objects and depth. Lightfield Lab says that traditional flat displays can never replicate this experience, but thanks to its technology, it has been able to replicate it in a way that has never been done before.

“Infusing real objects into digital technologies untethered to headgear creates a massive paradigm shift in how we experience, communicate, and consume media,” the company says.

Light Field says that it has managed to create what it calls “solid light,” which replaces physical objects with software-controlled holograms. The word “holograms” might not be the best term to describe what the company has created, however, as it has been conventionally diluted over the last several years to be nothing more than a trick of light or patterns on two-dimensional objects.

“SolidLight is the next generation of display combining unprecedented resolution and density to accurately project dimensional wavefronts to form objects that escape the screen and merge with reality,” Light Field says.

What it has created is touted as the highest resolution holographic display platform ever designed and allows viewers to experience digital objects in the physical world and are “indistinguishable from reality.” The company says that each 28-inch SolidLight Surface Panel, the name of its technology, contributes 2.5 billion pixels to the generated holographic object volume. The panels can be combined together to create large walls or tabletop displays for a variety of use cases.

In a “vision” video on its website, Light Field Lab shows an interaction with a tabletop version of its technology that appears to promise a fully interactive experience akin to what Tony Stark does in Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.

“Imagine one day being able to replace physical objects with nothing but light — a world where digital objects escape the screen and integrate seamlessly with reality. Light Field Lab is redefining what’s perceived as real to disrupt a world consumed by flat images, technology previously thought limited to science fiction — but real today,” the company says.

The company doesn’t say how much its panels will cost nor does it fully explain if the content displayed on them requires specialized capture, but if the company has developed a way to translate current photos and videos into 3D holograms, both disciplines may have a wild new way to be enjoyed.