The hologram industry’s future remains bright, especially if the technology’s potential for new light applications is unleashed, says the outgoing general secretary of the global hologram trade body.
Ian Lancaster, who retires after more than two decades at the helm of the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA), believes more opportunities will be created for holography if the industry starts to think about it as a means to capture, store and control light rather than just as an imaging medium.
He says this approach opens up so much more for the future, adding that holographic optical elements (HOEs), which take advantage of holograms’ ability to control light, and nano-optical devices, are becoming an increasingly large part of the industry.
These are finding a growing use in areas such as lighting control, electro-optical devices, and vehicle lights and instrumentation.
He says: “Diversification will see holography going from strength-to-strength, while imaginative thinking will serve it well in these new application areas.
“Its ability to innovate is shown in its historical key application as a security feature, as it continues to fight off competition from alternative technologies and provide a platform for driving developments in security documents, such as windows in banknotes.
“From cutting edge developments such as surface plasmonic devices to highly accurate demetallisation in register – as seen on the newest banknotes – it is a forward looking industry.
“Holograms will continue to provide added value to security applications and eye-catching additions to packaging, but I’d love to see them established as the 3D imaging medium used for advertising, illustration and so on.
“Holograms are the ultimate 3D medium, so, the challenge is for display holograms to break free of the need for a bright light set a specific angle.
“Also, with Microsoft now involved in HOE-based vision systems, and Google exploring holography, it will be fascinating to see the possibilities emerging over the next few years.”
Geographically, more in the future will be done to build on existing foundations to broaden holography and IHMA membership, says Ian Lancaster.
“Association membership in China is actively being pursued to get all those involved in the hologram supply chain there more involved and international in outlook. This is particularly important in the need to respect copyright.”
The International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) - www.ihma.org - is made up of more than 90 of the world's leading hologram companies. IHMA members are the leading producers and converters of holograms for banknote security, anti-counterfeiting, brand protection, packaging, graphics and other commercial applications around the world. IHMA member companies actively cooperate to maintain the highest professional, security and quality standards.
Issued on behalf of the IHMA by Mitchell Halton Watson Ltd. For further details contact Andy Bruce on +44 (0) 191 233 1300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org