German student creates DIY 3D hologram machine inspired by 'Star Wars'

German media technology student Jan Jessen has created a DIY Star Wars-inspired hologram that is able to depict his movements with the use of a camera and computer programming. Filmed on February 18, Jan can be seen setting up the device then performing movement directed at the computer and the hologram shows the same exact movement with the use of LED lights. The hologram was part of Jessen's bachelor's thesis in media technology, where he was ascertaining "how close you can get to achieving the look of fictional technologies with cheap and simple means?" It resembles the three-dimensional and holographic communications regularly seen in the "Star Wars" franchise. He explained in detail exactly how it works: "Persistence of Vision Displays aren't new. They are often used as cheap eye-candy on hand-fans, bike wheels and such, but those are only 2D with transparency. "This one is 3D; I took a panel of LEDs, that can light up really fast, which is needed for this project. "Most other display-types have an afterglow which would smear the image. "The pixels on the panel are then only switched on when they are in the right position in 3D space. "When the panel rotated further - a few milliseconds later - the LEDs shut off again or show the next pixel. "The fun part of this project was to get me to appear live on the display. "I used an old depth camera (Microsoft Kinect) because to show 3D images you first need to acquire them in 3D! "The Kinect is connected to my laptop which does all the heavy lifting of calculating the volumetric data. "It is then sent to the display over ordinary wifi, which means that - except for power and a bit of clamping down - it is wireless and portable! "In the end though, this is just an advanced student project. "It looks cool, I designed it to look cool, that's its whole purpose. "But nothing on it is especially novel, groundbreaking, kickstarter-worthy or similar. "I build flashy things for a living now but those should not be mixed up with actual innovation."