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Holograms Show Their True Colors


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HOLOGRAMS SHOW THEIR TRUE COLORS

DETROIT LOVES THE IDEA OF USING HOLOGRAMS TO TRY out future car designs. There's just one problem: Those ghostly vehicles, seemingly suspended in three-dimensional space, don't look precisely the same from every vertical viewing angle. A tall engineer perceives colors and shininess differently from a short engineer, who sees the hologram from a different angle. Auto makers can't make decisions about a car's design if they can't even agree what it would really look like.

American Propylaea Corp., which is located in Bir-mingham, Mich., thinks that it has the problem licked. In the past few weeks, Hans Bjelkhagen, the vice-president for research and development of the holography company, has developed a set of color emulsions that go onto the "holographic optical element"--the screen that produces the floating hologram when it's illuminated. The emulsions eliminate the color shift that's responsible for the variations when viewed from different vertical viewing angles, Bjelkhagen says.EDITED BY PETER COY


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