The Hovering, Holographic, Star Wars Display


While we’re still a long way off from the Star Wars telepresence holographic displays, this build over on the Projects site is the closest we’ve seen yet. Even better, it can be built in a garage for not much money.

Inside the Hoverlay are a few fans and a pair of ultrasonic atomizers that turn water into an extremely fine mist. The fans pull this vapor up through the base of the display and through simple drinking straws to create a laminar sheet of water vapor. Put a projector behind this thin sheet of vapor, and you have a display, seemingly floating in mid-air.

The base of the display can be scaled up, simply by putting several units together in a line. It’s still just a prototype – future versions will improve the stability and reduce the thickness of the fog layer – but it’s still a very cool build for a custom holographic display.

BTW, yes, we know this isn’t a hologram. You’re still welcome to point out the fact that language changes in the comments.

36 thoughts on “The Hovering, Holographic, Star Wars Display

      1. Most browsers have a setting to disable animated gifs, or to play them only once. And many browsers halt animation when the escape key is pressed although firefox had to remove that hotkey due to a conflict, but there is addon to make shift-escape do it called ‘superstop’

    1. I think that used condensing moisture from the air using dry-ice above the image to generate the ‘mist cloud’ but essentially, yes, it was a “project onto mist to create eerie floating person.

  1. Anybody every tried using corrugated plastic (old election signs) instead of straws? It’s easy to find for free, comes in many different sizes, and is super easy to work with. Would the fact that the chambers are square negate from creating a laminar flow?

    1. I tested 3d printed square chambers and they do work, though you might want to get some with a very small wall thickness since layering them together actually gives you double walls.

      1. It’s really not much of a problem. Stuff is rarely reported ( THANK YOU if you do, btw ), and it only kicks the post into moderation after a few reports. If too many people do that, I review and kick back all the reasonable ones.

  2. They have this exact thing running in the foyer of petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia only with a lifesize video presenter giving the welcome talk. Saw it a few years ago and though it was a nice touch.

  3. It’s a 2D projection onto a water vapor screen, been done for years. Hell we had one in a very bad SCI-FI TV show from over 15 years ago SeaQuest DSV had one.

    It only looks good from the angle they are filming from under the ideal lighting conditions.

    Not my definition of “holographic”.

  4. Hypothicaly, could a design like this be used for a real volumetric 3D display?
    If you had light being projected from a few angles at low intensity so it only adds up to a decent amount at the correct voxel position? Sort of like they use for medical ultrasound based surgery.

  5. Have you considered putting a little bit of milk with the water to make it a litter bit less transparent? This is a trick that Hollywood use to make rain look better on camera because it shows up better. I can’t wait to see the next vertion of this.

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