Introduction – Montage of video clips of the Great Orbax. Orbax is middle aged, bald with a ponytail at the back. A long curling moustache and a goatee. He is wearing a 3-piece grey plaid suit, with a lab coat, sometimes old motorcycle goggles. He is situated in a Physics lab at the University of Guelph and speaks directly into the camera.

Video clips show Orbax, putting on his lab coat and goggles. Running experiments in his lab with electricity, models, and beakers. Visuals end on the words Reel or UnReal.

Orbax on screen:

We’re going to explore the science of pop culture as we see what’s Reel or Unreal.

Are holograms real? For years, science fiction movies have been promising us the reality of 3-D real life video holograms.

[Orbax VO] – visual clips from Star Wars, A New Hope, shows spaceship flying and characters playing chess with holographic pieces. Switches to famous scene of Princess Leia’s hologram relaying a message to Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Even the greatest movie of all time Star Wars, has shown us a world in which we can have holograms for uses something as fun as holographic chess or something as vital as discussing the future of hope with Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Orbax on screen:

Yet here we are, and I don’t see any holograms! How come? So, let’s start discussing how we actually see anything at all.

[Orbax VO] – diagram of photon light and energy.

Objects emit photons from them. They omit them in all directions. They travel on forever until they hit something and

Orbax on screen:

occasionally visible light photons actually enter into our eyes and strike the back of our eyes or our retinas.

[Orbax VO] – multiple diagrams of the eye anatomy

Orbax on screen:

There they receive by specialized cells called rods and cones, and these change those visible light photons into electrical impulses which go into our brain.

And our brain interprets that as an image of an object.

In theory, if you could just generate the photons, you wouldn’t even need to have the object there at all. And that’s the idea behind a hologram.

[Orbax VO] – Black and white image of an older white Scientist standing at a chalkboard pointing at the word Laser. Black and white photo of scientist with goggles on working with a laser and crystal.

Scientists began working on holograms back in the 1940s, but it wasn’t until the advent of the laser in the sixties that we were able to actually be successful in creating them.

Orbax on screen talking and demonstrating laser light with equipment on his lab table:

Now, laser stands for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. And what a laser creates is something we call coherent light, which is light of all approximately the same wavelength, which is all in phase with each other.

This means that we can have very bright beams of light and put a lot of energy into a small concentrate area.

[Orbax VO] – Diagram of how to create a hologram. Orbax using a white notepad and marker to demonstrate laser beam travelling.

So, the way you make a hologram is pretty straightforward.

You start with a laser beam, the laser beam goes and hits a beam splitter. What the beam splitter does is it gives us two identical beams. This is a reference beam. This is an illumination beam.

The illumination beam goes towards the object and hits the object, and it scatters and we get this kind of wave scattering that we collect on a photographic plate.

This reference beam, which is exactly the same as the original, then travels towards the plate as well and you get this image of the interference pattern.

Orbax VO – Diagram if beam and virtual images. Orbax using white notepad and marker to show laser travelling to plate.

Now, the thing that makes this work in terms of a hologram is once you’ve developed this plate and you’ve got that original pattern on there, you can generate a hologram by blasting that original laser to it.

By striking this plate, it then generates that waveform that goes to your eyeball that looks as if it was the object up there. And that’s the whole theory behind it.

You get this virtual image, this fake image that appears as if it was actually there just by looking at the waves that come off of this plate.

Orbax on screen:

You might assume that these are actually difficult to make, and they are.

Orbax VO – video clip of Tupac in concert using holograms.

You’ve also probably seen video moving holograms, the things that you think are moving holograms, notably Tupac.

Orbax on screen:

These aren’t true holograms.

Orbax VO – visuals on screen show original hologram captured inside plastic shield. Projector, mist and walking hologram.

They’re just done with hundreds of year-old séance and carnival techniques, projecting images onto slanted curved pieces of glass or projecting video into mist. They’re not true holograms that just exist and give you that three-dimensional image.

Orbax on screen:

But don’t give up hope. Last year, a company called Light Field Labs

Orbax VO – video clip credited to SolidLight Industrial Design showing man in a lab working with hologram of technology. Video clip of two people sitting on a bench watching a large dinosaur hologram approach them. Visual of two office workers having a holographic virtual meeting.

…unveiled this technology called SolidLight, which actually allows you to have a true hologram.

SolidLight uses digital tech, a nanoparticle polymer fused surface energy relay, and a complex phase guide modulation surface to generate true holograms in three dimensions.

Orbax VO – video clip of holographic blue and green chameleon.

The prototype hologram chameleon Cammy is exactly that.

It’s a moving video hologram

Orbax on screen, holding a phone:

where you can walk around, you can see it move in three dimensions and there’s nothing there. It’s just projected light, projected photons that go into your eyes.

And with backers like Samsung…and with backers like Samsung, in the near future, we might actually see holographic projections on our phones!