Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Holograms: The Tie-Dye of the `90S

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Holograms: The Tie-Dye of the `90S

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (NYT) -- Crossing the swimming pool with the relentlessness of a Steven Spielberg tracking shot, the boy's goggles splash bits of green and orange and purple: they are the holographic images of hungry shark mouths on the eyepieces of Speedo's new hologram goggles. The wearer can look through the goggles, but the viewer sees the shark faces or, alternately, shark eyes.

Holograms are shimmering across the land on summer toys and movie tie-ins. Last year, they starred in a pop watch for The Lost World with a dinosaur's eye holographed on the face. This year, they glimmer on baseball cards, t-shirts and tennis shoes. The Air Jordan Jumpman logo on basketball shoes has been turned into a hologram.

Once holography was the photography of the future. Once, when the very word "laser" was full of magic and promise, National Geographic put a hologram on its cover to astonish its readers. Now the hologram is disposable glitter. Coming home to the world of placemats and mugs, it has entered the realm of the mundane.

Subliminally, holograms still say high tech, but they are found more and more in low-tech applications. Inexpensive holograms and holographic foils have their serious moments, to be sure: they are used as seals to authenticate boxes of videotapes or software, or they appear on credit cards or even currency to insure, theoretically, against counterfeiting.

But holograms are now routinely faked by clever counterfeiters, and one for the new euro banknotes was stolen a few weeks ago. Like mere humans, they are no longer invulnerable.

Ultimately, holograms will seem as corny as 3-D. I have a 1950s Xograph 3-D postcard of the Empire State Building; the card is thick, and the clouds seem layered an inch behind the building.There also used to be flicker disks given as prizes in boxes of Cracker Jack: the batter hit the ball as you turned the disk in the light. …

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