It’s an Interactive World: Past Reflections

By Daniel D’Amico, Trending Writer

Many take for granted how far we have come and the extent to which we interact with technology today. These include 3D printers, holograms, drones, and much more. It is always important to look at technology’s origins.

3D printing originates back to the late 1980’s when it was originally referred to as Rapid Prototyping (RP) technologies. Charles Hull obtained the patent for his stereolithography apparatus (SLA), typically seen as the origin of 3D printing. Hull also went on to co-found 3D Systems Corporation, one of the largest 3D printings organizations today.

The other 3D printing processes and technologies include: Ballistic Particle Manufacturing (BPM), Solid Ground Curing (SGC) and the more modern Rapid Tooling (RT), Rapid Casting and Rapid Manufacturing (RM). 3D Systems, EOS and Stratasys have remained of all the competing companies. 3D printers are becoming more and more accessible as more are made.

Another form of innovation are holograms. The term was coined by Dennis Gabor in 1947 with his theory of holography. In the late nineteenth century, an early instance of holography can be seen. Henry Dircks found that if he props plate glass at a 45-degree angle, an image bounces off of it and appears to be floating. John Henry Pepper later implemented it in a production of Dicken’s “The Haunted Man”. Modern instances of ‘Pepper’s Ghost’ include the holograms in the Haunted Mansion ride at Disney Land among others.

George Lucas furthered use of the idea when he showed a hologram of Carrie Fisher in the original Star Wars movie. This has almost come to be a reality today. There is much talk by Hologram USA and Zebra of adding a degree of permanence to the entertainment industry. This includes putting on live shows with deceased performers who would be able to interact with the audience.

The military has even been able to use holograms to learn more about the areas they are fighting in. Another piece of military technology are the drones. An early example of pilotless aircraft, used in war, was when Austria launched 200 pilotless balloons with bombs against the city of Venice. The progression of drones is seen with the Surveillance, Hunter Killer and Police drones. The idea of policing without having to send actual soldiers is becoming increasingly popular.

Sometimes the origins of technology are almost as interesting as the modern day versions. 3D printers are more easily accessible, but still expensive. Holograms are used to a much greater extent as well. Drones are becoming an easier, but not less expensive way to conduct certain aspects of war. Interactive technologies, as a whole, have come a long way, but there is a bright future of unimaginable innovation ahead.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 12th print edition.

Contact Daniel at


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