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Have you ever wanted to turn your ipad into an interesting three-dimensional display?
Many people may remember the hologram projection from a popular '70s science fiction film Star Wars, where a princess projected in a hologram makes a desperate plea for help. Holograms were once futuristic inventions made of a reality mixed with lots of fantasy. However, technology has evolved toward realizing the once fictional idea of a three-dimensional projected image.

The word hologram originates from the Greek language "holos gramma" meaning "whole picture". Holography is a technique that captures an image by recording the light scattered from it. A holographic image appears 3-D, changing along with the position and orientation of the viewer.

Holograms were invented by a Hungarian-born physicist named Dennis Gabor. In the 1940s, he researched optical physics, and carried out his breakthrough work in holography a decade after. The remarkable thing about his invention is that lasers used for his holograms, were many years ahead of its time, as these did not appear until the 1960s. In the 1940s, he was experimenting with photography and projection, which paved his journey towards holography; later inventions included various innovations in recording and transmitting sound. Towards the end of his life, Gabor's brilliant contribution was recognized by the award of the world's top science prize, the Nobel Prize in Physics 1971, "for his invention and development of the holographic method."

In this project, you will learn to create a real hologram and enjoy futuristic entertainment. For your own convenience, this project will use simple materials that you may already have available at your home. So, you do not have to worry about planning a trip to the store and spending cash for buying supplies.

Now, I will briefly describe the project. We will be using CD-room cases to make layers or cutouts to create a panel. The pieces made from the CD cases will vary in width, as shown with the measurements below. These will be assembled from smaller to larger and at a 45-degree angle. The angle will aid in the reflection and illusion of depth of the image or video on the CD-room mirrors. In the final product, you will be able to see different images on the separate mirrors.

You will need at least 4 CD cases, strong glue, cutter, ruler, and a board (optional as a base when cutting).

Step 1:

Make sure the CD-room cases are as transparent as they can be for a better reflection of the images. Clean them with an alcohol wipe if necessary.

Step 2:

You can make a template and then transfer it onto the CDs or directly mark the measurements shown below, on the CD-room cases. The rectangles have the same horizontal length, but vary in width size:
12 cm x 4.5 cm

12 cm x 5 cm

12 cm x 6 cm

Step 3:

Before cutting the pieces, make small cuts on the edges or sides of the cases. This will allow you to easily break the pieces without accidentally tearing the sides. Be sure to use a sturdy cutter for the CDs. You can also try using thin CD cases if you do not have a strong cutter.

Step 4:

Carefully cut the pieces you marked in a lengthwise manner. It is best to use a ruler to attain a more straight and accurate cut as demonstrated in the images. If you have help from another person, have them hold the ruler while you make the cuts. After you are done, set the three pieces aside to prevent them from getting scratched or broken.

Step 5:

Now, cut the inner hinge or side of a new CD case, as shown in the picture. You will need to cut two pieces so I recommend using two separate cases. These two pieces will be used as bases for gluing the edges of the three pieces we cut previously.

Step 6:

Glue the edges of the rectangles to the two base pieces. The rectangles must be assembled from smaller to larger and place them slightly slanted at a 45-degree angle. When gluing the pieces, press each piece to the adjacent part for 30 seconds. Then, allow the glue to work and dry for 5 minutes. Do not try to glue all the pieces at once, as this will not work. You must glue each part at a time, and allow it to dry. The two bases must be aligned with each other as seen in the last picture.

Step 7:

Take the dark posterior part (preferably black) of the CD case and glue it to the top of the arranged rectangles. It should be at an angle as the three pieces are tilted.

Step 8:

Secure any weak areas of the panel with extra glue or transparent tape if needed.

Step 9:

Search websites for hologram videos. You can find a variety in youtube.


Step 10:

Test the hologram projection in a dark room and enjoy the display.

The entire process took me about 2 hours. The hardest part was cutting the CD cases. Assembling the pieces was easy, but the gluing and drying took lots of patience. Overall, I think this is a great experiment that everyone should try at home. Even though, this is a not a conventional hologram, the tutorial achieves the same purpose with a simpler approach and without the use of lasers. For this project, I only used three mirrors to reflect the image and when combined it can trick the eyes into seeing a 3D image. Hopefully sometime in the future, inventors will be able to make moving pictures with holograms. I am sure it will not take long until we can experience three-dimensional holographic TV or cinema and a phase of realistic entertainment.

<p>That's the video. </p>
<p>Fun idea :) Do you have any photos of holograms you made using this setup?</p>
I didn't take pics, but I uploaded a video. You can find it here.

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