Three-dimensional holographic images usually appear in science fiction films like Star Wars, but a group of Chinese researchers is trying to bring the same effect into the real world without use of 3D glasses.
A video demonstrating this holographic projection, generated by a spinning fan-like blade and LEDs, has amazed global netizens since it was first posted on Instagram in late September.
The holographic projector itself is a complex and formidable piece of technology, which can project a variety of 3D images more or less into thin air -- a flying butterfly, a bird, a moving car and a jumping Super Mario.
The video has been viewed more than 20 million times on Chinese video websites, around 10 million times on Youtube. It has been shared 54,000 times and received 14,000 comments on Facebook.
The holographic projector was invented by DSEE.LAB, a Chinese startup in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province.
According to founder and CEO Zhou Quan, the product is basically a propeller with hundreds of LEDs controlled by computer. When it rotates at a high speed, the LED lights change quickly, creating a moving picture in the air.
The existing product can be used for advertising displays or exhibitions at hotels, shopping malls or airports, but in the future, Zhou aims to make low-cost holographic videos.
Existing products that project moving holographic images are costly and have severe limitations.
Sun Jian, in charge of publicity, said that their naked-eye display has different sizes with a price ranges from 2,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan.
Since the product was put into mass production in June, the company has received around 10,000 orders from home and abroad, with sales reaching 10 million yuan (around 1.5 million U.S. dollars).
DSEE.LAB is a young company set up in 2016. The average age of its 20 team members is only 24. The team has obtained seven patents in China and one international patent.
The company has set up branches in the United States, Germany and Singapore. On October 20, it announced that it had secured around 10 million yuan in financing from angel investors.
Many young people are setting up their own businesses as China moves toward an innovation-led economy, encouraging entrepreneurship.
According to auditing firm KPMG, the government has invested more than one billion U.S. dollars in domestic startups since 2015. Compared with other firms, technology firms have obtained most support in tax preferences, funding, low-interest or interest-free loans and rent subsidies.
Zhou's team has received 1.7 million yuan of government funding since 2015.
Next year, the company plans to develop a projection propeller with a diameter of 1.5 meters and make the screen more interactive, allowing users to switch images only by moving their fingers.