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[[quoteright:330:[[Franchise/MassEffect http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Avina3_2856.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:330:Okay, Projected [[OneGenderRace Monogendered Female-Looking Alien]]. Sue us.]]

A RobotBuddy who happens to be made out of light.

{{Hologra|m}}phy is the very real technique of using lasers to create a three dimensional image. It's very difficult and requires precisely calculated conditions and a bunch of costly hardware, but it's visually stunning, at least the first few times you see one. Technically, what is popularly called a "hologram" in science fiction is really called a volumetric display, as a true hologram is recorded onto a visual medium that provides the illusion of volume.

In TheFuture, presumably, this will get a lot easier. The ProjectedMan allows an artificial character to be a {{ridiculously human robot|s}} without all the logistical problems that implies.

The character may be constrained by power or the availability of a projector to add flavor.

Can be made of HardLight, or can be an IntangibleMan. Generally, if the ProjectedMan is solid, he will be able to become intangible in a crisis.

Frequently coupled with TinMan or MissionControl. The inverse (human projection inside a computer world) is the DigitalAvatar. Compare AstralProjection, where a living person makes their soul similar to this.

Cross with SpiritAdvisor to produce VirtualGhost. See also HologramProjectionImperfection for when holograms don't work properly and have visual static or other glitches.

The name comes from the British science fiction movie, ''Film/TheProjectedMan'', that was riffed on [[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 MST3K]]. The eponymous character was more like a mutated freak with electricity powers than an example of this trope.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Masha, the RobotBuddy in ''Manga/TokyoMewMew'', can project a hologram of Ryou, his TeenGenius creator, when the latter needs to tell something to the girls and can't be there himself.
* Reinforce Zwei was depicted as this in the DistantFinale of ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs''. She's become a lot more solid since.
* Canal in ''Anime/LostUniverse'' is a SpaceshipGirl in a {{Meido}} outfit.
* ''Anime/{{Blassreiter}}'' has Elea, a quirky AI who projects herself as a sexy imp. [[spoiler: The epilogue introduces her successor, Maria]].
* The move Double Team is depicted this way in ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}''.
* How T-AI, an Autobot aligned supercomputer, manifests herself in ''Anime/TransformersRobotsInDisguise''.
* The Duel arenas in ''Anime/YuGiOh'' use 3D holography to project realistic depictions of whatever is summoned by a particular card.

* When robotic superheroes get heavily damaged (and they frequently do) they will often be projected until repairs to their bodies are completed. Examples include:
** ComicBook/RedTornado (Creator/DCComics)
** ComicBook/TheVision (Creator/MarvelComics), who also changes his density anyway as a superpower.
** Stel from the [[Franchise/GreenLantern Green Lantern Corps]] (Creator/DCComics) does this too.
* The mutant who uses the nickname Blue has an area of cyberspace mapped out like Film/{{Tron}}, and there he has his own ProjectedMan 'Clu'. The name "Clu" may itself be a ShoutOut to a minor character from ''Tron''.
* In the later ''ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehog'' Archie comics, NICOLE appears as a lynx using this trope.
* In ''ComicBook/AllFallDown'', AIQ Squared appears as this.
* Luther Ironheart, the robotic deputy in ''Comicbook/AmericanFlagg'', is something of a hybrid. He has a large human-shaped but clearly robotic body, and a hologram for a head. While his head usually appears as a friendly and obviously non-human cartoon image, he can also use it to impersonate other characters. He successfully impersonates Flagg at one point, and the image is apparently flawless, at least on a video screen.
* The villain Optilux from Creator/AlanMoore's ''Comicbook/{{Supreme}}'' run was an alien intelligence (and Brainiac {{Expy}}) who existed as a living hologram. He also converted whole cities into light constructs and imprisoned them in prism-like structures (parallelling Brainiac shrinking cities and imprisoning them in bottles), believing that [[ScaryDogmaticAliens he was fulfilling a higher purpose]] by converting living people into light.

* The ''VideoGame/{{Portal 2}}'' fanfic ''Fanfic/BlueSky'' has Wheatley transferred into a HardLight body. It's so realistic that several characters don't even realize he's not human - at one point, he shows a plug in the back of his neck to the local technology expert, and the other character is so stunned [[INeedAFreakingDrink he decides he needs a drink]] before the conversation can continue.
* The [=HoloSmurf=] seen in a few stories in the Smurfed Behind saga of the ''Fanfic/EmpathTheLuckiestSmurf'' story series.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* On ''WesternAnimation/CloudyWithAChanceOfMeatballs2'', Chester V has holographic clones of himself that make public appearances for him and also serve as his companions. [[spoiler:In the climax, they try to save him from [[HoistByHisOwnPetard fallling into his own machine]], but as they are not made of HardLight...]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/IRobot'' featured [[FunWithAcronyms V.I.K.I]], the AI/Positronic brain of USR, who usually appeared as a face in a cube, made by smaller cubes.
** And before that, when Del Spooner first arrives at USR, he interacts with a projected recording of Alfred Lanning, who is capable of answering simple questions.
*** Unlike VIKI's face, Lanning's recording is two-dimensional, although it appears volumetric from the front.
* Vox, Orlando Jones' virtual-librarian character in ''Film/TheTimeMachine2002''. Uniquely, Vox doesn't "exist" in real space, but interacts with people through transparent "pillars." Also, Vox changes quite a bit. During Hartdegen's first stop in the future, Vox is a chic, acerbic 21st Century man; his appearance and movement are smooth and crystal-clear. By 802701, he looks visibly older (requiring glasses) and has significant HologramProjectionImperfection. This is {{justified}}, as he's running on reserve power. He's neither as smooth nor as acerbic as he was; now, he's a little more jittery and a lot more [[ShellShockedVeteran haunted]]. In his words, "Can you even ''imagine'' what it's like to remember...everything?"
* In 1995's ''Hologram Man'' Kurt Decoda and Norman Galagher are transformed into holographic parolees in a Film/DemolitionMan-esque universe with [[DomedHometown Domed Cities]].

* Both [=H.I.V.E.mind=] and Overlord of the ''Literature/HIVESeries'' appear as floating holographic heads.
* A future human society in Stephen Baxter's ''Literature/ManifoldSpace'' makes use of "limited-sentience projections" as messengers. Initially Nemoto appears several times via more ordinary holographic telepresence (it's really her, talking as if over the phone), making for an unexpected WhatMeasureIsANonHuman moment much further into the future when another character asks the projection what exactly it is; Virtual Nemoto explains and then looks horrified before dissolving into light. (And you thought Franchise/StarTrek holograms had it bad...)
** ''Series/{{Andromeda}}'' appears to have borrowed the concept, as in at least one instance, a message is sent in the form of an interactive holographic recreation of the sender.
* Creator/AlfredBester's ''Literature/TheComputerConnection'' apparently used this technique to replace both telephones (called "projecting") and advertising. The latter reversed the traditional payment scheme of advertising in that consumers could pay a monthly fee to maintain the insulation in their homes to keep the advertising ''out''.
* Subverted in ''Literature/RevelationSpace'' by Creator/AlastairReynolds, when one character is being rude to what she thinks is a holographic avatar, only to find it's a real person she's talking to. "We used to use avatars, but they put up with too much crap". Later in [[Literature/RevelationSpaceSeries the series]], Captain John Armstrong Brannigan, a TransHuman, manifests himself in the form of decaying servitors, but viewer uses augmented reality goggles to see him as he was six hundred years ago when he worked for an organization [[FutureImperfect called "NASA"]].
* The ''Literature/SkylarkSeries'' by Creator/EEDocSmith has the HardLight version of this, and may well be the UrExample.
* Jane, from ''Literature/SpeakerForTheDead'' and its sequels, started out as an extremely complex game/psychology test, but eventually developed sentience, and chose a young woman as her preferred avatar. Although holographic displays are standard for personal computers in this universe, the displays can only project holograms in a limited range above themselves.
* Colin from Creator/WilliamGibson's ''Literature/MonaLisaOverdrive'' manifests this way.
* ''Wayfarer'' by Dennis Schmidt has a scene where the main character manages to get aboard a ship still orbiting the [[LostColony planet]] and meets a holographic projection of the colony fleet's (now long-dead) admiral. The computer running it is programmed with enough of the admiral's knowledge and personality that the simulation could actually exercise a limited degree of command in ''routine'' matters; this allows it to give the hero some useful advice based on the real admiral's mastery of Zen.
* The DHI's from ''Literature/KingdomKeepers'' become this upon sleeping, taking over for the hologram versions of themselves that serve as hosts in the parks. Finn has also shown the ability to briefly become one at will, complete with IntangibleMan properties.

[[folder:Live Action Television]]
* The titular character of ''Series/{{Automan}}''
* Rimmer in ''Series/RedDwarf'', although he very definitely did not fit the mold of RobotBuddy.
* Darien's sidekick Selma (Specified Encapsulated Limitless Memory Archive) in ''Series/TimeTrax''. She is almost a VirtualGhost, as her appearance was based on a photograph of Darien's late mother. For Darien's mission into the 20th century, Selma is disguised as a credit card and frequently used as such (she just hacks the computer to accept her). In one episode, Darien meets an old friend of his, who has traveled back in time to catch a certain criminal. He shows off his own computer called CINDI (Consumer Information Network and Data Interface), who looks like a ditzy blonde and doesn't do much except giggle and take up seductive poses, while her hologram occasionally glitches. Obviously an inferior version of SELMA, who is a little insulted.
* The Doctor in ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'', and a number of other characters late in the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' franchise.
** Any humanoid-like being produced by the Holodeck counts as well, although most don't seem to be sentient.
** The other noteworthy mention here is StephenHawking who as this type of character got to be the only person in Franchise/StarTrek history to date to appear on the show as himself.
* One of Andromeda's three selves in ''Series/{{Andromeda}}''.
* Used by ''Series/MissionImpossible'' in a few of their conjobs, particularly notable in the episode ''Holograms''.
* Caravaggio from ''Series/{{Starhunter}}''. From the shoulders up, he's a posh British butler in a tuxedo. From the shoulders down, he's a skeleton for some odd reason.
* Al from ''Series/QuantumLeap'' isn't actually a hologram, but functions like one from Sam's point of view.
** However, Sam and the world around him, appear as this to Al back in the present because he is in an "imaging chamber" much like a Star Trek Holodeck.
* Similarly Asgard communications technology in ''Series/StargateSG1'' functions by projecting a full-body hologram of the user to wherever the person they want to talk to is, apparently without the need for an emitter at the recieving end, allowing for some handy IntangibleMan shenanigans.
** The Ancients have this as well.
** An interesting variation on this is used in an early episode by Sokar, who attacks the Earth gate's iris with a particle accelerator. He modulates the accelerator to make his face appear on the iris and even have his voice come out, informing the [[HumansByAnyOtherName Tau'ri]] why he's punishing them.
** The Asgard holo-technology is revealed to the public in one episode as a counter to a CEO revealing an Asgard as proof that the government is hiding something (it was just a mindless clone). Carter then went on national television and revealed that the government has been working on realistic-looking holographic projection technology and demonstrates this by passing her hand through a solid object, revealing that she wasn't really there. The reporter interviewing her calls bullshit on that, claiming that she has never heard of a technology like that before.
** A crossover SG-1/Atlantis episode involves Daniel searching through the Ancient database in Atlantis for Merlin's weapon, finally figuring out that [[spoiler:his holographic guide is actually Ganos Lal (AKA Morgan Le Fay), an [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence Ascended]] Ancient, secretly helping him]].
* Several characters on ''Series/BabylonFive'' are able to communicate this way while making use of the [[EternalEngine Great Machine]]. Two out of three characters who do this on the show tend to be {{Large Ham}}s for some reason.
* "The Professor," the holographic advisor system installed in the captain's cabin aboard Series/SeaQuestDSV. Notable for including several RealLife limitations: it couldn't travel (the image was projected on a fog "screen"), it wasn't tangible, it couldn't repair itself (either hardware or software), and it frequently suffered from HologramProjectionImperfection.
* Cyber-Cam from ''Series/PowerRangersNinjaStorm'', who regular Cam created to handle some of his responsibilities when he became the SixthRanger and found that managing that ''and'' being the MissionControl was too exhausting.
* Gideon in ''Series/TheFlash2014'', an AI from the future (with Creator/MorenaBaccarin's voice) that keeps track of Barry's future for [[spoiler:Dr. Wells, AKA the Reverse-Flash]]. As Barry finds out, Gideon is the creation of his future self.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'', almost all human-made [=AIs=] use a holographic human avatar:
** Cortana, a "naked blue lady" who's also Chief's VoiceWithAnInternetConnection and MissionControl, with a good bit of PlayfulHacker thrown in. That said, she's often stuck in Chief's helmet, which doesn't really have a projection system. In ''VideoGame/{{Halo 4}}'', she's able to briefly manifest herself with HardLight by using the technology on a [[{{Precursors}} Forerunner]] ship. [[spoiler:In ''VideoGame/Halo5Guardians'', she seems to have created a full hard-light body for herself.]]
** Others examples of [=AIs=] with human avatars include Serina of the UNSC ''Spirit of Fire'' (from ''VideoGame/HaloWars'') and Roland of the UNSC ''Infinity'' (introduced in ''Halo 4'').
** One unusual example is Black Box (or BB for short), originally introduced in ''Literature/HaloGlasslands''. One of the most advanced [=AIs=] in the UNSC, he takes pride in his superiority by refusing to generate a human avatar, always appearing instead as little more than a featureless blue cube that nevertheless manages to convey emotion by spinning and running lights over itself.
* In ''VideoGame/TheSuffering'', Dr. Killjoy is the ghost of a [[PsychoPsychologist deranged psychiatrist]] who manifests from old film projectors. Much creepiness ensues, including having to destroy the projectors to stop him from reviving certain enemies.
* ''VideoGame/BeyondGoodAndEvil'' has Secundo, an [[JustAStupidAccent Ambiguously Spanish]] holographic AI who manages Jade's inventory and e-mail for her. [[spoiler:He's also a ChekhovsGunman, as his short on-screen appearance at the beginning of the game only hints at the fact that his computerized nature will prove very helpful at the game's end]].
* Nearly every Virtual Intelligence encountered in the game ''Franchise/MassEffect'' is a perfect example of this trope. The one exception is the rogue VI found on Earth's moon. Its rogue status may or may not have something to do with this.
** These are actually special cases: when a VI is designed for interpersonal interaction (such as Avina, the asari VI on the Citadel) it has a human- or asari-shaped projection. There's actually a VI interface in almost everything, from your omnitool to your biotic implant to your assault rifle. The rogue VI on the moon didn't have a projection because it was designed for organising drones for combat simulations, not for directing people to the nearest bar or restaurant.
** EDI in the second game inverts this in that she projects herself as a sphere of blue lights, but is a genuine self-aware AI.
** Glyph similarly manifests as a blue sphere, although in his case he is a drone equipped as a sort of administrative assistant VI.
** Holographic projections are also commonly used for long distance communication, at least for folks important enough to make direct calls to Commander Shepard, a list that is generally limited to leaders or representatives of powerful organizations.
** In the third game, it is possible to encounter a VI with a [[{{Flanderization}} very Flanderized]] version of Commander Shepard's personality, which projects itself as a hard-light projection of Shepard. Depending on if Shepard is a Paragon or a Renegade, the VI will either be obnoxiously supportive or comically bloodthirsty. Cue DoIReallySoundLikeThat from Shepard.
* The sequel to ''KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' has the G0-T0 droid who hides behind his SecretIdentity of Goto, a middle aged man communicating only through hologram projection.
* In ''VideoGame/DestroyAllHumans'', Pox becomes this when he downloads his conscious into a float disk just before their main ship was destroyed. He stays this way for a decade before finally getting himself a new body, though not what he expected.
* [[spoiler:Eliza]] of VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution is a life like hologram.
** ''VideoGame/DeusExInvisibleWar'' also has NG Resonance, an international pop-star, whose holographic [=AIs=] are playing all over the world. The [=AIs=] can interact with people, and one is hard-pressed to tell that it's not an actual person. Interestingly, while the holograms are polite and friendly, the actual pop-star is a spoiled brat who doesn't care about anyone.
*** Expanding on this the AI starts to become personalized towards each person. You see it giving advice and comforting an office drone the first time you met it. As the game goes on it starts acting as your handler, which you can comment on. And to be fair to the Pop-Star she was panicking as she found herself in the middle of a war-zone.
* ''UruAgesBeyondMyst'' has one. Yeesha built a small imager in the Cleft that can project a full 3D hologram of herself, sound and all, and in one recording, ''a linking book even works while still part of the hologram''. Somewhat justified, as holography is nothing new to the D'ni civilization, though their imagers more often use 2D holograms.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Sora in ''VisualNovel/{{Ever17}}'' (at least until the True Ending, where she becomes a RobotGirl).

[[folder:Web Comic]]
* The {{AI}}s that control ships in the ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' universe are usually represented by holograms, for interaction with "meatbags". And for the sake of exposition, [[BreakingTheFourthWall as they themselves occasionally notice]], even for direct interaction between [=AIs=] themselves. Some exceptions are Haban, who is embedded into a human and talks through him, Ennesby, who has a physical flying body and was talking through it or just speakers when he was a ship AI, and TAG, who speaks disembodiedly on purpose.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* All the [=AIs=] in ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' project themselves in this manner at some point, with Delta notably using his projection to simulate a combatant in battle as a distraction once.
** In ''Reconstruction'', [[spoiler:the "ghost" form of Church]] is [[TomatoInTheMirror revealed to be one of these]], blurring the lines between projection and self.
* "[[EverybodyCallsHimBarkeep Station]]", the [[SpaceshipGirl Spaceship Boy]] in ''Webcomic/QuestionableContent'' who controls Hannelore's father's space station, manifests this way on-board.
** May is a personal AI assistant projected through Dale's AugmentedReality Glasses (who, as a result, only he can see). She has her own robot chassis, but it's locked up in Robot Jail at the time (she tried to upload herself into a fighter jet) and she's essentially doing community service. Later on, she shows up "in the flesh".

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Subverted in ''{{WesternAnimation/Futurama}}'', where a miniature ProjectedMan version of Hermes appears to the other characters to relay a message but is then carried away by a pigeon. When the (real) Hermes appears next, he is sporting various plasters.
* ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'':
** Slight twist: In some continuities, there are holograms of drivers in their vehicle modes so that they don't appear to be driving themselves. In one comic series, the driver avatars are HardLight projections that can operate some distance from their robot bodies.
** Sixshot in ''Anime/TransformersHeadmasters'' projects copies of himself to fight; they're made of HardLight. Prowl in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' seems to have picked up a similar trick, but without the hardness (and a crimefighter in the comic named "Wraith" is able to project a moving hologram of himself that he controls from a nearby truck).
** In ''Anime/TransformersRobotsInDisguise'', T-AI is a sentient computer who projects a holographic image of herself. She even operates equally holographic keypads to make the computer (which is ''her'') do stuff. [[Wiki/TFWikiDotNet Transformers Wiki]] summed up the FridgeLogic of this. [[note]]"Whenever T-AI makes radio contact with any off-base Autobots, she initiates it by pressing a sequence of buttons on a keypad. Considering that these elements are all a part of the same computer, T-AI is in fact projecting and controlling the holographic representation of herself and making it use the keypad that controls T-AI, herself. She is effectively telling herself to tell herself what to do. If you also factor in the fact that the hologram is totally incorporeal, and therefore cannot actually make contact with the keypad, then the assorted beeps and lights that seemingly indicate when the buttons are being pressed are actually being controlled from within T-AI like a player piano, and therefore don't need to be pressed even if the hologram could press them. This gives me a headache."[[/note]]The RuleOfCool is definitely in effect.
* In later episodes of ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' we see that Vlad made himself a holographic version of Danny's mother as his lab assistant. When Danny attacks his laboratory, the hologram and the AI glitches says it prefers to be with the holographic Jack Fenton than with him. He later fixes that "flaw".
** In "WesternAnimation/PhantomPlanet" it turns out he's using at least two holographic Maddies on his space station and at one point they fight over who's the favorite.
* Synergy from ''WesternAnimation/{{Jem}}''.
** Jem herself doesn't count since it's more of WeWillNotUseStageMakeUpInTheFuture, but Jerrica has had Synergy project holograms of Jem (or holograms of Jerrica if she's in her Jem alter-ego) to prevent her cover from being blown when the need for both of them to be in the same room at the same time arises.
* WesternAnimation/IronMan's second season of the 90's cartoon featured an AI called HOMER who seemed to be this. He eventually [[CanonImmigrant appears]] in the comics.