This company stands out from the crowd with a technology that they have been developing for 4 years, they can bring full colour, glasses-free holograms to life! This has the potential to bring the technology of Star Wars into the realm of reality. ZI’s software puts a virtual camera inside every point of a digital models holographic vertical plane so that it can measure its surface volume. As you can imagine the amount of data required to produce this is enormous as there are approximately a million points to analyse.
Zebra then send it to their printer which processes the data containing distinct points of view to a plastic polymer which creates a sheet full of 1mm holographic tile encryptions. Each of these tiles is an image conductor that is sensitive to light, so when light is shined its scatters around and all image angles are shown at once. This results in a free-standing 3D model appearing from the sheet as shown in the picture shown on this page; it is a very clever optical illusion. With support from DARPA, Zebra Imaging has recently developed a holographic display that is capable of producing this effect in a scalable dynamic near real-time display. The US army have already picked up the technology for displaying maps of constantly changing battlefields which can be printed on the fly.
This technology is amazing but currently costs thousands of dollars so it is a long way from being available to everybody, rapid prototyping with 3D printing on the other hand is here and affordable now!