Saturday, February 12, 2011

“David”, the First “White-Light Embossed” hologram, to join MIT Museum’s other ‘Historic Holography Firsts’

["David" white-light-viewable embossed 3D hologram made in early seventies]

I’ve been communicating with Seth Riskin, Manager, Holography and Spatial Imaging and Emerging Technologies Initiatives, in the arrangements to donate my ‘David’ white-light-viewable embossed hologram to MIT Museum’s extensive collection of historic holograms which includes the former New York Museum of Holography’s collection.

This week the MIT Museum’s committee “…was unanimous (and excited) in accepting the donation… Thank you once again Jeff for this generous, donation, important to this collection.”

“David” was the first in a series of white-light-viewable holograms created by Mike Foster and myself in our early pioneering efforts of holography at our Cottonwood Research and Development Corporation. The MIT Museum will now have all in this series except for the ‘Randi’ hologram. All of these holograms used Steve Benton’s ‘Rainbow’ holographic technique which eliminated one axis of parallax but enabled the reconstruction of the holographic images with non-laser light (white-light.)

Below is an overview of some history of the “David” hologram.

The First ‘White-Light-Viewable’ Embossed Hologram
Donated to MIT by Jeff Allen - 2011


• An embossed hologram of “David” from a sculptural copy of Michelangelo’s masterpiece
• “David” was the first ‘White-Light-Viewable’ embossed hologram
• “David” is also a transmission hologram viewed with rear illumination
• “David” was created in 1972-73 at Cottonwood Research & Development Corporation (CR&D) in Salt Lake City, Utah
• Holographic Master and Composition of ‘David’ was by Mike Foster
• The Hologram of ‘David’ was physically embossed by Jeff Allen
• The 4” x 5” Hologram of “David” was embossed onto a 5” x 6” sheet of clear acetate
• “David” incorporates Steve Benton’s ‘Rainbow/Slot’ technique (Benton Technique) for White-Light-Viewing

Historic Background

• In 1970 CR&D was formed by Jeff Allen and Michael Foster to finance, research, develop and market the ‘technological breakthroughs and advances’ of Foster’s, with a major focus on prismatic optics initially, then diffractive optics.
• Major CR&D projects included: 1. The invention, development and patenting of a new ‘state of the art’ of optics through holography (diffractive optics) and 2. A unique holographic master creation process including a manufacturing technique to inexpensively mass produce planar diffractive optics onto plastic (holographic embossing.)
• This holographic embossing technique could also be used to mass produce holograms of three dimensional scenes and images (display holography.)
• The same sculpture of “David” was used previously to develop the embossing technique to include display holography as well as optics.
• CR&D’s first embossed ‘laser-viewable’ hologram was of the “David” sculpture made in 1972.
• The “David” sculpture was also used to become their first ‘pseudo white-light-viewable’ hologram by using an ‘image plane’ technique that Foster was developing at CR&D. This technique allowed for both X and Z axis parallax viewing. CR&D was obtaining some very good results with this technique when they became aware of Steve Benton’s ‘Rainbow/Slot’ technique (Benton Technique). At that time Lloyd Cross introduced Allen to Benton’s technique in San Francisco where Cross was developing his ‘white-light-viewable’ laser holograms on silver halide film. This technique was applied and we were then able to create a white light viewable (non-laser light) embossed hologram of “David” though having only one axis of viewing parallax.
• Their second ‘white-light-viewable’ embossed hologram was the “Dog Fight”, displaying two bi-planes in flight.
• In 1974 CR&D deliver an order for Laser Focus Magazine for “white-light-viewable’ holograms of “David” and “Dog Fight”. Allen embossed the holograms from Foster’s holographic masters onto black acetate so they could be illuminated through front illumination and Laser Focus referred to them as ‘reflective holograms’. Their first ad was placed in their own magazine, November 1974 (See Exhibit A.)

MIT’s ‘Early Embossed Holography Collection’ Highlights

• The ‘white-light-viewable’ embossed “David” hologram will join the others in the MIT collection of the early embossed holograms created by Foster and Allen in 1973/74 during their holographic embossing development period. “David” was the initial hologram made in this series.
• This collection now includes: “Dog Fight”, “Diver”, “Earth, Moon & Magnifying Glass (Einstein’s Relativity in a Quantum Universe”) and “Superman”. (This is also the order in which they were made after “David”).
• “Randi” is the only other significant ‘white-light-viewable’ embossed hologram created during this period that appears to be missing from the MIT collection. “Randi” was made in the same period of time “Superman” almost simultaneously. Both “Randi” and “Superman” were made with Foster’s unique ‘composite hologram’ technique integrating or displaying many frames of 2D pictures.
• Other holograms in the MIT Museum Holography Collection created by this holographic embossing technique include ‘Holographic Records (Music)’ on vinyl. These ‘Holographic Records’ also incorporated a holographic mastering/embossing technique developed by Foster and Allen which enabled the mass production of holograms using existing automated machines. This new technique developed in 1973/74 for records incorporated the holographic information with the sound information on the surface of the records. The very first Holographic Records were created by Allen and Foster working in conjunction with Eva-tone (flexible vinyl thin record manufacturer for magazine inserts) and Capital Records using Foster’s ‘special holographic mastering technique’ for records. Allen and Foster next worked with Alice Cooper, Shep Gordon (their manager) and Warner Bros to create a test ‘45 Holographic Record’ of Alice Cooper’s release, “No More Mr. Nice Guy”.
• “David” will join MIT’s other ‘Historic Holography Firsts’ in their collection as “David...the First White-Light Embossed Hologram”. The others are: the “First Laser Transmission Holograms” and the “First Reflection Hologram”.

"If you want to predict the future...invent it!" Dennis Gabor, Inventor and Nobel Prize winner for Holography

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