Imagine being able to see UAE’s historic sites like the Qasr Al Hosn or Sharjah museums from any corner of the world as a hologram. That is what a holography expert is hoping to achieve.

Dr Ajith Kumar PT, who recently chaired one of the country’s first conferences on photonics, said such a project would immortalise the UAE and its contributions to the Islamic culture.

“I have been passionate about cultural archiving and I think there is a huge scope in the UAE,” he said, speaking to Khaleej Times. “The country’s museums and cultural sites have a good collection of Islamic history. These can be turned into holograms and immortalised so that anyone from anywhere in the world can look at them. It will immortalise the region’s contributions. We have approached the concerned authorities with hopes of making this dream a possibility.”

A laser holography scientist, Dr Ajith Kumar was in the country for the inaugural Photonics Middle East conference that draw scientists and researchers from around the world. “The UAE is at the forefront of innovations of all kinds and this is the time for the country to ride the photonics wave,” he said. “With it futuristic outlook, I think the government will be able to harness it to their benefit and possibly even become a global epicentre of innovation in the field.”

Photonics is the study of light and has several applications including LED, VR, holograms, high-speed internet and solar panels among other things.

Future outlook

According to Dr Ajith, he has a very ambitious vision for holograms in Dubai. “With so many celebrities visiting the country every day, I hope to establish a holography studio in the emirate,” he said. “Any time anyone comes here, we can convert a picture of them into a hologram, which is a lasting keepsake. This studio could become a global tourism centre where holograms of all world leaders who have visited Dubai are archived.”

He also hopes to set up a photonics park in the UAE. “It could change the future of this country,” he said. “This will make the production of photonic chips in the UAE a possibility and will take the country forward in innovation in a big way.”

He said the project could also inspire the younger generation. “Students could visit the park and understand how the latest technology works,” he said. “This will inspire several youngsters to get into the industry and create a lasting impact.”

Passion project

Hailing from India and having several patented uses of holograms, Dr Ajith began working in the field in 1984. Some of his techniques of using holograms in weapons have been bought by governments and defence companies across the world. He remains the only person ever to have been conferred two gold medals by American aerospace company Lockheed Martin for his innovations.

“When I first started out in the field, I got hooked onto holography very quick,” he said. “If a picture is equal to a thousand words, a hologram is equal to a million words. Everywhere I go, the response I get to the holograms I show are amazing. And each time I get a 'wow' from someone, I enjoy my field a little more.”

Currently, holograms are primarily used in currencies. However, according to Dr Ajith, there are several other applications it can be used for. “Holograms can be used in passports for an additional layer of security,” he said. “We can also use it to safeguard important documents. A holographic document cannot be forged or photocopied or tampered with in any way. Holographic lasers can also be used to improve the safety of an airplane's landing. The possibilities are endless.”

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