The future of 3D holograms comes into focus

Smartphone-based augmented reality (AR) and the AR headset explosion will bring 3D holograms into our lives everywhere. Meanwhile, though, the real AR hologram revolution is being ignored.

A hologram is a 3D virtual object that isn’t actually “there,” but looks as if it were, either floating in the air or standing on a nearby desk or table.

The “holo” in Microsoft’s HoloLens headset is a reference to holograms. And when we think of these future AR holograms, we think of headsets, goggles such as HoloLens or smartphones running applications created with Apple’s ARKit or Google’s ARCore.

The technology is increasingly becoming ubiquitous, and companies are racing to win market domination. A competitor to the HoloLens, the “Lightware” headset from secretive Magic Leap, has been in the news lately, after six years of development at a cost of $2 billion, for two reasons.

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Virtual reality goes magnetic

The success of Pokémon GO made many people familiar with the concept of ‘augmented reality’: computer-generated perception blends into the real and virtual worlds. So far, these apps largely used optical methods for motion detection. Physicists have now developed an ultrathin electronic magnetic sensor that can be worn on skin. Just by interacting with magnetic fields, the device enables a touchless manipulation of virtual and physical objects.

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