Turn your smartphone into a 3D hologram projector — all you need is a CD case

7 Aug 2015

A homemade smartphone 3D hologram projector in action. Image via Mrwhosetheboss/YouTube

Anyone with a CD jewel case, office supplies and about 10 minutes to spare can turn their smartphone into a 3D hologram projector thanks to an instructional video on YouTube.

The video, posted on 1 August, shows viewers how to transform an everyday smartphone into a 3D hologram projector using a CD case and basic tools, including graph paper, a pen, sticky tape and a sharp blade.

The process really is incredibly simple, as all that’s needed is a transparent plastic shape to convert a suitable holographic video from a 2D image on your smartphone screen to a 3D hologram floating above it.

To do this, a CD case is cut into four equal trapezoid shapes, and then these are taped or glued together to form a truncated pyramid.

All you need to do then is place this homemade device on your smartphone screen and let the light do the work.

This light from the four-way flat image in the demo video streams through the four panes of the pyramid, meeting in the centre to create the 3D illusion.

It works on TVs too!

In less than a week, Mrwhosetheboss’s video tutorial has been viewed more than 5.6m times and counting, though he’s not the first to tell the world how to make smartphone holograms via YouTube.

Back in April, American Hacker posted a video with the very same instructions and, since then, he’s moved on to transforming bigger screens into 3D hologram projectors too.

Essentially, this hacked together piece of kit is a more refined version of a series of pyramid projection devices created by Imagination Farm. The Holho collection uses angled mirrors to create the 3D holographic effect and different models were developed for different screens, from smartphones to tablets.

Unfortunately for Imagination Farm, Holho didn’t reach its Kickstarter goal. Maybe because clever makers figured out they could build a crude but effective version for themselves.

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3D hologram still from ‘Turn your Smartphone into a 3D Hologram | 4K’ by Mrwhosetheboss on YouTube

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.