The holo­grams we make here have some­where be­tween 10 and 300 bil­lion pix­els per inch. It’s an im­mense amount of in­for­ma­tion. — artist Au­gust Muth

Pasatiempo - - CURRENTS - U.S.S. En­ter­prise Star Trek.

Sim­ple or not, cre­at­ing a holo­gram is ex­act­ing be­cause it re­quires sta­ble con­di­tions. You don’t see holo­grams of peo­ple and mov­ing ob­jects be­cause they can’t re­main still long enough for an ac­cu­rate record­ing. “You’re deal­ing in the world of the pho­ton,” Muth said. “When I’m mak­ing the holo­grams, if any­thing moves more than a 10-bil­lionth of an inch, the wave in­ter­fer­ence doesn’t take place, and you don’t get a holo­gram.” Muth places his sub­jects sim­i­larly to the way that a painter might ar­range a still-life or a stu­dio por­trait. He as­sem­bles the sub­ject on a long ta­ble that weighs 14,000 pounds and floats on in­ner tubes to ab­sorb shocks and min­i­mize vi­bra­tions. When he worked on pro­jects at the Mu­seum of Holog­ra­phy with Un­ter­se­her in decades past, the rum­bling sub­way trains were al­ways an is­sue. “We would make holo­grams there at night be­cause the level of ac­tiv­ity was less and there was less vi­bra­tion,” he said. “But you would have to time the trains, and it was about ev­ery 13, 14 min­utes be­tween trains. So you would have to wait for the train and then wait for things to set­tle down; then you could do your ex­po­sure, and hope­fully, the train wouldn’t come out of sched­ule and screw it up.”

Holog­ra­phy in the dig­i­tal age ap­pears poised to make a come­back be­cause of ris­ing in­ter­est in its use as a record­ing medium. “With the elec­tron, we’ve reached the high­est level with which it can deal with in­for­ma­tion,” Muth said. “We’re not go­ing to get any faster com­put­ers us­ing the elec­tron. Light is dif­fer­ent. The next step in com­put­ing is op­ti­cal com­put­ing. The holo­grams we make here have some­where be­tween 10 and 300 bil­lion pix­els per inch. It’s an im­mense amount of in­for­ma­tion. A friend of mine in San Fran­cisco is a re­searcher, and for the last 10 years or so, he’s been de­vel­op­ing holo­graphic in­for­ma­tion stor­age. He has this lit­tle one-cen­time­ter cube that he can record the en­tire Li­brary of Con­gress in. Holog­ra­phy is in­ter­est­ing for the fu­ture. The Holodeck is not some­thing that won’t hap­pen in our fu­ture,” he said, re­fer­ring to the vir­tual-re­al­ity sim­u­la­tor on board the in “It will hap­pen.” — Michael Abatemarco

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