This simple little device is way cooler than it has any right to be. An inverted pyramid made of light, thin, clear plastic creates a fantastic illusion that allows you to create what LOOKS LIKE a hologram with nothing but ANY cell phone and some videos from You Tube. Just search 4 face pyramid holographic video for lots of cool video images.
The plastic used to make the PepperGram Projector is super thin - why? To prevent the formation of a double image.
So if it's not a hologram, what is it and how does it work?
A hologram is a specific kind of photograph that captures light that has been scattered from multiple surfaces of an object, so the image produced appears three-dimensional. Here is a good article explaining how holography works. If you prefer to watch a video to see how holograms are made, this is a good one. As you’ll see, creating a hologram requires a laser, a beam splitter and special holographic film. The “DIY Hologram” does not require any of that.
So, what is it? What’s going on is a variation of an old illusion technique used in theaters and haunted houses known as Pepper’s Ghost. It was made famous in 1862 by one John Henry Pepper. But the very first mention of the effect was made long before that, in the 16th century by a Neapolitan scientist, Giambattista della Porta who is also one of the pioneers in optics.
Pepper’s ghosts are created via a sheet of material that is both semi transparent and semi reflective in nature; usually either glass or plexiglass. Generally, when you place an object on one side of the material, most of the light that bounces off that object passes (is transmitted) through.
However, if the object is very bright, and the space on the other side of the material is dark (think about standing in your kitchen with the shades open at night) the glass reflects a much larger portion of the light and you see an image much like you see in a mirror. Because the image is a reflection, it appears to be coming from BEHIND the glass. Also because it is a reflection, it appears 3 dimensional; meaning that if you move your head or eyes, you see another angle and it looks very “real”, if dim.
The PepperGram projector works because by darkening the room and using a bright 3D video, the 4 sided pyramid made of semi-reflective, semi-transparent material produces several such images so you can view a realistic image at all 360 degrees around. Its super nifty and easy!
Posted by Jackie Menne on 9th Jan 2017
Gave one to each of three grandkids. Two boys who I knew would think it was cool and their older sister who I was doubtful would even open it. To my delight and surprise she quickly put it together and had everyone watching fireworks in the dark from her phone. The PepperGram visual was amazing but her unexpected interest even more special.
Posted by Unknown on 5th Jul 2016
Really have enjoyed playing with this. Now thinking of building a larger one. Also going to look into making my own videos. Will be using this in my TV production classes.
Posted by Unknown on 5th Jan 2016
Appreciate the compact design and safety for children to use with ease! Well made and exciting to all who are introduced to product. With students, will ask them to write what they think is happening before explaining concept. Great videos on YouTube!