Categories: ScienceTechnology
| On 2 weeks ago

This startup creates objects out of light and thin air

By Aswin Kumar

Well, we all know about holograms but the tech behind it was still amateur until now when a new startup called Light Field Labs began producing a technology called Solid Light.

The tech so-called Solid light seems to be like Star Trek’s holodeck as it produces real-life holograms.

“We can show that this is real. We can start building this,”

says CEO Jon Karafin of the San Jose-based startup

How does the tech work?

The current hologram tech you see at music concerts, Youtube videos, etc have some major limitations. The current technology only allows the hologram to be contained in a glass box, or rely on fan blades embedded with LEDs, etc.

The current technology is actually to trick us to see a 2D object exist in 3D but Lightfield labs seem not to involve such tricks but the “real” hologram which are known to only exist in movies.

The process seems to simulate the principle using which our eyes see any object.

“If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain,”

says the CEO

“You don’t see in the real world that wing of this bird,” Karafin says. “You see it because those photons will strike and interact with that finite point (the bird’s wing) and create a wavefront that your eye is able to focus on.” 

So basically if you have a machine capable of controlling light with which you could simply emit photons and re-order them in order to create images even though the image doesn’t exist.


The company has successfully created the tech to control a beam of light to recreate 3D objects that appear to be floating in the air.

A standard television usually has millions of pixels that emit light in a single uniform direction. Lightfield Lab’s holographic technology changes this by sending photons to the central region. In the central region, the light converges and then scatters, forming an image visible to the human eye.

“It has been thought of as the holy grail of displays. It has been thought of as the impossible,” says Karafin.

The company has already made some serious progress before its debut in “one- to three-year” timeframe and some of the serious tech investors on board like Verizon, Samsung, and Comcast which of course seem to be a bet on the future. The company has already sold out on preorders.

The company has already been producing displays in 90-, 120-, and 150-inch sizes, and the larger displays are expected to cost several millions of dollars which don’t seem strange considering the futuristic tech.

Meanwhile, Light Field Labs aiming to basically re-create objects in the real world with light just like the holodeck, the physics behind this is rather simple but the execution doesn’t seem so.

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Aswin Kumar

A creative science nerd! Buy me a coffee:

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