Engineers Develop Tru.D 3D, A Volumetric Hologram

Texas engineers have built a system that uses three dimensional objects to create a three dimensional moving image.

Colin McGinn wanted a 3D display system that could function without reflection, projection or glasses. Over the last three years he has developed Tru.D 3D, a system to display volumetric holograms for a 3D experience without glasses. McGinn and his team are running a Kickstarter campaign to fund a 90 second three dimensional movie filmed using his Tru.D 3D technology.

McGinn was awarded a patent in December 2015 for “Volumetric film display systems” and the novelty for his invention is three dimensional objects moving along a belt to create a fully three dimensional image that moves. The Kickstarter page says that the term volumetric is used to indicate ‘a display that creates video in real three dimensional physical space’.

A Mini Tru.D device almost exists that users can hold in their hand to watch a three dimensional animation. A ball rolling on a curved block, a water droplet and its reflection, and a wiggling water bear are available for backers to choose as their Kickstarter reward in mini form.

The most interesting part of the project for me is the mini projectors. The frame is built from laser cut acrylic and the objects are 3D printed. A controller spins the motor for the belt to move the thirty printed objects past the strobing lights, and create the volumetric hologram. Theoretically users could print thirty of their own parts and create their own holograms using the mini projector as a base.

New forms of holograms are often met with lots of discussion regarding what is and isn’t truly three dimensional. This campaign video says that the user watching a two dimensional video of the system won’t do it justice, and there will no doubt be debate about whether or not Tru.D 3D is really a fully realized 3D hologram. The campaign ends of May 30, 2016 and if successful mini units will ship in January 2017.