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What Are Holographic Glasses?

By A.M. Boyle
Updated May 16, 2024
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Holographic glasses are specially designed to give points of light a three-dimensional (3-D) prism effect. The term can also be used to describe novelty glasses that have a three-dimensional image embedded in the lens. While originally designed for entertainment purposes, the technology used to create these types of glasses has also been used to develop holographic military goggles.

The main purpose of most holographic glasses is entertainment. The glasses generally have paper or plastic frames and are similar in appearance to 3-D glasses found in many movie theaters. The effects generated by the glasses, though, are more intense and detailed than the types of images generated by 3-D glasses.

Due to the way the lenses in these glasses are designed, normal light displays are viewed as stunning, three-dimensional illusions. For instance, many people enjoy viewing fireworks displays through holographic glasses because of the added vibrant, multidimensional aspects. Similarly, many places that offer seasonal holiday displays may provide guests with holographic glasses to enhance the lights with enchanting prism effects.

Certain novelty glasses with holographic images embedded in the lenses are also called holographic glasses. These products don’t necessarily alter the wearer’s view of objects. Instead, they provide a comical effect for people looking at the person wearing them. For instance, the lenses of the glasses might contain very realistic images of a woman’s eyes, complete with eyelashes and makeup, and when worn by a man, the effect can be quite amusing.

Both types of holographic glasses are available at many toy and novelty stores and are relatively inexpensive. They can also be found online. In addition, quite a few companies and restaurants have offered free holographic glasses in order to entice customers and promote certain products or services.

Aside from entertainment, the technology used to create these types of glasses has been used by the military in order to develop certain eyewear and goggles to be worn by soldiers. The holographic capabilities can enhance the wearer's perception and allow computer-generated images to be projected onto the goggles. These aspects can assist military personnel in assessing field conditions and identifying potential hazards and targets.

Holographic technology continues to evolve. When holographic movies and television shows are available, viewers will likely use holographic glasses in much the same way as they use 3-D glasses. Video and computer games may also utilize holographic technology to enhance gaming, resulting the glasses becoming necessary to fully enjoy the experience.

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Discussion Comments

By anon236309 — On Dec 22, 2011

A prism effect I can accept, but this year I saw snowmen and reindeer and Santa's face. I'd love to understand more of the science behind this.

By chivebasil — On Aug 21, 2011

@whiteplane - You still see these in the clubs these days. As a matter of fact I think there are a few designer eye wear makers who have created their own custom frames and market them to the club crowd. You would not believe the way some of these look. And I think the holographic effect is stronger too. I remember looking though a pair that one girl had and you could barely see enough to walk forward.

By whiteplane — On Aug 20, 2011

Back in the 90s I used to go to a lot of raves and holographic glasses were one of the most popular fashion accessories. I even had a few pairs myself. People would customize them so that they were over sized or made up in crazy colors. It was a cool touch and it really enhanced the experience. A lot of being there was about losing yourself in the music and the way the glasses scattered the light it made you feel like you were not standing on the ground.

By golf07 — On Aug 19, 2011

Every year our community puts on a huge fireworks display for the fourth of July. Many of our past graduating classes also have their high school reunions during this time.

There are also thousands of people who come from surrounding communities to watch the fireworks. I bought a few cheap pairs of holographic glasses for my family to watch the fireworks with.

It is fun to see the kids reactions when they put these special glasses on for the first time to see the fireworks. Even when you have used these glasses to watch the fireworks before, it is still amazing to see the difference when you have the glasses on.

The extra dimensional effects can really make a difference. Once our kids friends saw how cool it was to watch fireworks with holographic glasses, many of them also went out and bought their own.

By sunshined — On Aug 19, 2011

The first time I wore any kind of holographic glasses was many years ago when we were on a trip to Disney World. This was when the entertainment industry was just beginning to promote them, and they were quite a novelty.

I don't remember which show we watched with these glasses, but do remember how fascinating it was to see all the special effects through these glasses.

Now it is not uncommon to see them in many movie theaters, but the effects are still the same, making it quite a fun experience.

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