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About holography

Glossary FAQ

The commonly and widely used way of imaging of the reality is the photography. A photograph is basically the recording of the differing intensities of the light reflected by the object and imaged by a lens. However, information about dimensions of the object contained not only in amplitude (intensity), but also in a phase of light waves.

A great difference between holography and photography is the information recorded. This difference is why photographs are two dimensional (2-D) images while holograms are three dimensional (3-D) images. Photographs contain only one view point of an object. Our eyes need a minimum of two view points in order to see depth. Vision using two viewpoints of an object is called stereoscopic vision. Each eye receives a slightly different view point of an object, our brain combines the two and we perceive depth. We can fool our eyes into seeing photographs in three dimensions by taking two slightly different views of an object and allowing each eye to see only one image, the right image for the right eye and the left image for the left eye. We can do this with a stereoscope (for pictures) or with polarized glasses (for movies). The shortcoming of stereoscopic images is that when we move our head from side to side or up and down, we still only see the same two view points, whereas we should be seeing continuously changing viewpoints of the object. The image therefore doesn't quite appear to be three dimensional. In order to make a record of a three dimensional object we need to record this continuous set of viewpoints of the object.

Estimating sizes of the objects and considering shape and direction of shadows from these objects, we can create in our mind general representation about volumetric properties of the scene, represented in a photo. But, if sizes of the objects are identical and there are no shadows, volumetric content of the photographed scene is completely lost. For example, we can not define in the photo of snowflakes on a dark background, which of them is closer, and which of them is farther.

Holography is the only visual recording and playback process that can record our three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional recording medium and playback the original object or scene to the unaided eyes as a three dimensional image. The image demonstrates complete parallax and depth-of-field and floats in space either behind, in front of, or straddling the recording medium.

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