Using "Star Wars" as inspiration, hologram maker imagines new future for smartphones

IKIN's founder describes a 3D hologram tool that works without glasses or goggles and can even be seen in daylight and more.

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A mock-up of what the IKIN hologram would look like. 

IKIN

In January, Taylor Scott and his company IKIN were the talk of CES 2021, astounding attendees with his hologram tool and the potential for a smartphone accessory that could turn images into three-dimensional figures. 

Scott told TechRepublic that his inspiration for IKIN and its hologram work was the movie "Star Wars," which features one of the most iconic holograms in film history. 

"I first became captivated by holograms as a young child. The memory of Princess Leia represented as a holographic image in 'Star Wars' was something that left an indelible mark. Years later I remained fixated on holography," Scott said.

"When I began to really dig deep into the technology, I realized it can offer so much more than just enhancing gaming experiences or serving as a presentation mode for AR or VR technology, which has always been the prevailing wisdom on holography. I recognized it really offered untapped potential for redefining human-to-human, or human-to-anything interaction, in ways we are just now starting to understand. This potential inspired me to pursue a career unlocking the potential of holograms."

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As founder and chief technology officer of IKIN, Scott explained that the company is hard at work on accessories that take Android or iOS smartphones and create 3D holograms that can even be seen in daylight. 

Scott imagines a scenario where someone could effectively choose a photo from their gallery and look at a 3D rendering it right from their smartphone. For CES 2021, the company unveiled mockups and demos that illustrated how the tool will work. 

Scott already has a patent on the specialized proprietary chemical polymer lens and said that in addition to smartphones, the gaming industry and many others have expressed interest in the technology. 

"We've already begun work integrating IKIN technology with a large IoT provider who is bringing our technology into a warehouse environment to improve efficiency and streamline operations," Scott said. 

"Our technology is also being looked at by a host of mobile providers, who recognize that holograms can be an ideal vehicle to differentiate their offerings, particularly as mobile operators are looking to monetize large investments in 5G networks."

Scott added that there is "really no limit to the applicability of our technology," noting that the technology can be licensed out to developers so that they can build out their own holographic capabilities in their existing and emerging offerings.

He believes IKIN's technology could be useful for healthcare and telemedicine, transportation, retail, hospitality, social media and other sectors that need images fully sketched out. 

"Our intention is to give these developers the tools to leverage our innovations, and then support them in their go-to-market activities," Scott said.

"Our goal is to help redefine human experiences through holography, and expand our position as the market leader in this industry. We will continue to invest significant resources to ensure that our technology remains at the leading edge in the years to come."

The company has raised more than $13 million according to USA Today and Scott said it is looking for more partnerships in order to continue expanding. 

Most holograms require special glasses or are seen in the context of concerts involving deceased artists like Tupac, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.

But Scott said IKIN's technology was special because it didn't require the kind of extra appliances that many consumers find cumbersome.

"Our technology relies on understanding and leveraging deep neural science, advanced chemistry, physics, electrical engineering, AI, and manufacturing processes—to name just a few areas.  It is not easy to create, but the end product is incredibly exciting and rewarding. It's been well worth the investment of time, energy, money and sweat equity to bring these innovations to the market," Scott said.  

"One of the technical challenges that has hindered the practical use of holograms that we've solved is bringing holograms out of dark performance spaces and into the light of day. Our solution not only displays full-volume holographic images in ambient light, it's done without goggles, headsets or gloves."

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