I’m Alex Smith, a talented young
web-developer for Caltech/NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. I spend my days doing many
creative web and mobile web projects and my evenings writing experimental code
analog and digital, code and art. This project is a beautiful representation of
the future possibilities of blending analog and digital technologies to create
new mediums of visual communication and art. In addition to its outward
more powerful scripting languages for cross-platform applications.
A method of creating a three-dimensional image of an object
on film by encoding not just the intensity but also the phase information of
light striking the film.
The holographic text, as well as the stop
motion segments, above were generated by iPad (1st gen) and captured by webcam.
Roughly a year ago, I began
experimenting with some new HTML5 enabled programming languages (Processing.js)
while on my morning train commute. The experiment turned into a mobile
application called 8bitapp which displayed basic blocks representing 8bit space
invaders and text as 3D holographs visualized by webcam (http://vimeo.com/16992836).
After seeing the success of the 8bit block
holographs at the scale of 10 units wide by 8 units high, I decided to scale
the concept up and ingest image data. Eight months of experimental
coding later, that concept morphed into my newly released iPad application - 8bitapp:
Hellagraph Edition (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/8bitapp-hellagraph-edition/id467900125?mt=8).
This newest development allows users to dissect an image of their own, draw their
own images with an 8bit paint option or choose from over 450 vintage 8bit video
game characters to render 3D holographs for photographic capture.
The next step is to massively increase the
available processing power to dramatically rise the speed at which the
holographs can render. This allows us to breach the optical barrier and view
the holographs with the human eye.
With your help, I plan to apply the same
model I currently use to create a prototype large enough, bright enough, and
fast enough to display extra large holographs, tens of feet tall, visible to the
The basic concept of using computer
technology to generate holographs for 3D visualization has been around for decades,
but implementation was lost with lack of proper technology. With the current
advances in computer engineering, this once hindered goal is within reach.
As an artist, this is an exciting new
medium that enables new tools to create with. As a web developer, it shows that
a few of the languages I am so passionate about are giving a rebirth to the creative uses of web development for large data visualization.
Every time I take a moment to step back
from my work on this project, I am completely inspired at how it’s evolved. A
feeling reminiscent of powering up that Apple 2 for the first time or that
fateful day in 1994 when a friend showed me how to use funky tags to make text
It is already so impressive to see what this
application can do with a tiny iPad processor. I believe with everything in me
that this project will change the future of art and advertising media for the
The hardware required is costly. I have poured countless
days and nights into this project on the software end, coding completely in
finished application that is ready to port to a new larger high processing
device. This is where you come in.
Help kickstart the future of visual holography.
Check out some of my small-scale examples:
Flickr - http://flickr.com/groups/8bit
Vimeo – http://vimeo.com/user5266894/videos
Website – http://8bitapp.com