Move over traditional billboards. Three-dimensional, slightly hypnotic holograms may soon replace two-dimensional signs and ads. Several companies with this technology said 3D holograms will revolutionize the way businesses and brands talk to potential customers.

“It’s already replacing billboards, LED screens, LCD screens, because there hasn’t been any revolution in the display industry for decades,” said Art Stavenka, founder of Kino-mo, a company with offices in London and Belarus. 

The main hardware of the technology is a blade that emits a strip of light creating holograms of images and words. Multiple blades can be synchronized for larger holograms.

“As soon as this piece of hardware spins, you stop seeing hardware and you start seeing (a) hologram, and the piece of hardware spins fast enough so a human eye does not see any rotation, and it sees the amazing holographic image,” said Stavenka.

Another company developing this type of device is Hologruf, with a presence in both the U.S. and China. 

“In the not so distant future on every street corner, there will be these types of ad displays just like in a science fiction movie,” said Hologruf’s Quan Zhou. 

The applications for 3D holographic displays include shopping centers, train stations and restaurants. 

For franchises such as fast food restaurants that want these displays in more than one location, “they have the capability to manage multiple devices around the world from a central location,” said Hologruf’s co-founder, Ted Meng. 

The cost of a blade ranges anywhere from around $1,300 to just over $3,000, depending on the manufacturer. 

The competition has begun for this technology. Kino-mo has customers in 50 countries on almost every continent. It will be releasing an outdoor version sometime in 2018. Hologruf said it already has a product to replace outdoor billboards.

“We can make it to be water proof, wind proof and work under all kinds of extreme environmental conditions,” said Zhou.

So what would Tokyo or Times Square in New York look like in a few years? Stay tuned.

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