Full disclaimer: 99% of the time when someone’s talking about a “hologram” these days, whether it’s Microsoft with HoloLens or Tupac rising to a Coachella stage, it’s not a hologram at all. There are a million and one tricks to create floating-in-air images, and the vast majority of them have nothing to do with the sort of light-field capture that makes capital-h holograms the miracles (of science) they are. That said, we’re still suckers for a cool-looking tech demo (even if it is being sold to us with technically incorrect marketing buzzwords), and we can’t deny that the new Porsche campaign that turns your tablet into a floating display is a pretty snazzy one.
Porsche is distributing 50,000 acetate prisms in April issues of Fast Company magazine, as well as sending out an additional 100,000 glass prisms by mail. After users assemble those (in the case of the flat-packed acetate prisms), they’ll be left with an inverted pyramid of sorts that balances right on the middle of an upwards-facing tablet.
Users then pull up Porsche’s special video designed for use with this prism, and as its edges capture the reflections from the tablet screen below, it gives the impression of a car that sure looks like it’s floating in the air.
OK, so the whole viewing setup sounds a little unwieldy, the imagery won’t be in 3D, and it’s near-impossible to view this footage while also suspending disbelief that you’re not just looking at a tablet and some reflections. But in an era where VR on mobile devices is such a hot topic, it’s still a nice reminder that there’s more than one way to expand mobile displays into new dimensions.