Kickstarter campaign to propel visualisation tool into mainstream

A technology that started life visualising data from astronomical telescopes, and has been successfully deployed in medical applications, could be propelled into mainstream electronics after a Kickstarter campaign from developer Holographic Optical Technologies. The Augusta, Georgia holographic medical imaging company will introduce 8-in Voxbox and 22-in Voxbox Pro displays when it launches the campaign on April 20, 2015.

The company says that the units will allow consumers to “view fully three dimensional holograms at home for the first time”.

It will also embark on a hologram production service that allows users to submit sets of 3D data, such as CT scans, for transformation into a “Voxgram hologram”.

Holographic Optical Technologies describe the display as “3D sculptures of light that occupy physical space”.

Viewers can reach into images that are projected in front of the portable Voxbox screen. The Voxbox viewer can be used to display holograms on a desk or mounted on a wall.

The larger Voxbox Pro is a medical-grade display, and is used by physicians. Both units are also tipped for use in architectural and engineering firms for viewing representations of CAD diagrams and other professional grade models.

Daniel Burman, co-founder of Holographic Optical Technologies, said: "Our glasses-free true 3D holograms engage the viewer and offer thrilling experiences for the consumer and better understanding of complex data for improved medical care.”

The technology, developed from work by Voxel and Holorad, has already been involved in a number of landmark surgeries, including the 2006 separation of four-year-old conjoined twins in Utah. Newer versions have found applications in neurosurgery and cardiology.

The company is currently working with surgeons at a medical university to develop diagnostic methods and minimally invasive techniques for pediatric neurosurgery and hopes the Kickstarter campaign will raise funds to enter the consumer market and bring its technology into the medical mainstream.

One of the campaign rewards allows users to donate medical holograms to children's hospitals. There are also options for physicians to purchase Voxbox viewers and Voxgram holograms at a discounted rate.

Stephen Hart, the primary inventor of the technology, and co-founder of Holographic Optical Technologies, originated the system and software architectures for the product.

Hart has a background in experimental astronomy and worked at London's Imperial College of Science and Technology.

He was looking for a way to visualise vast amounts of information from astronomical telescopes, and investigated holography as a potential solution.

More recently, his technology was used to create a visualisation of the NASA Kepler Mission data. He claims to have produced the world's largest transmission hologram, measuring six feet high, six feet wide, and projected to a depth of four feet, allowing entire families to walk into the depiction of interstellar space.