Optigone International of St. Louis, MO, manufactures the Mirage, a device which utilizes a scientific phenomenon called a three-dimensional real image to simulate a hologram without the use of lasers.
The device looks like two small Chinese woks joined at the rims, with a small opening in the center of the top half. The exterior is painted in a high gloss black finish, and the unit itself is made of shatterproof acrylic. Two models are available: a large, 22-inch version and the original 9-inch version.
To achieve the illusion of a full-color, lifelike hologram, the Mirage utilizes a patented technology consisting of two opposing parabolic mirrors lining the inside of the two wok-like halves. The object to be converted to a hologram must be placed precisely in the concave center of the bottom mirror. Light rays bounce on the mirrors and project an image up through the small opening in the top, creating what appears to the viewer as a truly solid object. The mirrors even correct the image so it is “right reading” and not reversed as typical reflected images are.
The Mirage is powered by ambient light and does not require film. Objects can be swapped out easily, and are rendered in full color unlike true, laser-generated holograms. They display a full three-dimensional appearance and can be viewed from any angle.