Bleen is a projection pod that promises to display hovering interactive holograms in true to life form; very much like Princess Leia calling for Obi-Wan Kenobi. Now THAT is exciting.
Here’s the thing. Unlike Kickstarter, Indiegogo works in such a way that you keep everything you raise whether or not you hit your goal. So when the clock runs out, you get paid. Mixed with the recent hype and excitement around virtual reality and immersive technology, everybody wants to cash in – which is fine. However, when investing through crowdfunding services, it’s imperative that the concepts and product offerings hold water, and are not false or dare we say fraudulent promises.
While we don’t pretend to be experts on holograms or physics, MTBS is responsible to at least check if these claims have an inkling of truth.
We reached out to Professor Michael Page from OCADU. He is one of the world’s respected experts on holograms, and if anyone has a grasp of what can and can’t be done, it’s him. This is what he had to say:
Hollywood movie making has elevated audience expectations of holography through special effects. More recently, the use of the word hologram has been applied to a number of effects by corporations and others who hope to capitalize on these expectations. This has manifested itself in video projections of Tupac and Michael Jackson.
Fake holograms usually manifest themselves in one of two basic forms:
Pepper’s Ghost, an illusion first performed in the late 1800s. The modern day version of this utilizes a video projector reflected off of a large partially surfaced mirror or Mylar to make it seem as though the projection is emanating from on stage. A talented double dances on stage with a CG head that never gets seen up close.
Whirly-gigs is a name given to projection systems (by our lab) that projects on a spinning surface. That part of the projection that is closest to the viewer is in the foreground, while objects in the back appear further away.
Project intermittent images, synchronized with the device doing the rotation and you have a 3D projection of sorts.
You can also create a volume of particulate matter or mist and project into it a dimensional scene of sorts.
So much of the type of imagery that is in play now is about telepresence, real-time projection of individuals, usually from far away. It is all 2D.
Many of the recent claims of holographic projection systems defy the laws of physics. Simply put, there is no way to project photons out into the center of a room and have them suddenly change direction, multiply and turn toward multiple viewers in the room. There has to be a host: either a real hologram that diffracts or reflects light, or some medium, smoke, steam, mist etc. Or, a partially silvered surface (as was the case with Tupac and Michael Jackson).
Thank you Professor Page!
What it comes down to is this: MTBS has not had time to reach out to Bleen due to other commitments, so we aren’t going to make a statement to the effect that Bleen is being fraudulent or is misleading the public.
However, we firmly believe that Indiegogo should at least place their campaign and funding on hold so qualified media could at least see and experience their prototypes in person. While everyone wants Bleen to achieve such a breakthrough, basic responsibilities need to be taken care of to ensure that public money is being invested in ideas that are actually well intentioned and hold merit.
It’s one thing if it’s private investors that have every opportunity to do due dilligence while the product maintains full secrecy. Magic Leap comes to mind. However, these are public hard-earned funds we are talking about. It’s a different ballgame and set of responsibilities entirely.
If Bleen wishes to reach out to arrange such a demo for MTBS, or if they need us to send a qualified expert in our place, we’re all for it. Better yet, if they are confident they can deliver the goods, we will give them a free exhibit at Immersed because a lot of people would like to see this physics-breaking scientific breakthrough in person – and I mean a lot of people. So if Bleen is reading this, please reach out!
We firmly believe that Bleen should have every opportunity to prove their claims. This would be a major scientific breakthrough. Still, the public trust has to be protected. Until this takes place, please feel free to tactfully share this article with Indiegogo customer service to check up on their product representation policies and if Bleen is meeting up to them. Send to other media sites too as potential customers should be asking the hard questions before typing in their credit card numbers.
Bleen is at over $42,000 now, and the clock is running out. Under no uncertain terms should Bleen get a payout before their claims are professionally verified.