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"A hologram is like a telegram.
You can send it anywhere.
But you never go nowhere.
You gotta realize your limitations
when you're just thin air.
Cranky Kong (The Hologram Song), Donkey Kong Country

A staple of Speculative Fiction, Holograms can be created by technological, magical, or psychic means, but are always intangible illusions meant to fool onlookers into seeing something that isn't there. Holograms are thus the preferred tool of The Trickster and more specifically the Master of Illusion.

Holograms have a variety of uses, among them being deception, creating a Holographic Terminal, a simulacrum of those long dead or artificial intelligences. The exact nature and properties of holograms vary between works, but for purposes of trope differentiation and practicality, the one unifying trait they share is intangibility. If they do have substance, they're Hard Light.

What media commonly identifies as a hologram is not actually a hologram, it's a volumetric display. Actual holograms are 3D images on 2D surfaces, and not visible from arbitrary angles. While this may seem like picking nits, there are perfectly valid reasons for the practice: "hologram" is easier to say than "volumetric display," and would the BBC allow Rimmer to walk around with "VD" plastered on his forehead?

Among their possible traits are:

  • Opacity: Some are see through, others can actually block light from passing through them like a real object. Oddly, this doesn't necessarily mean they cast shadows.
  • Emitter: Though common, many eschew this entirely. Instead of an emitter all you need is a powerful enough computer or piece of Phlebotinum with a monitor to make a hologram. If they do have an emitter, it will almost invariably be a Data Crystal or Power Crystal.
  • Range: Usually it's unlimited. Only rarely are they limited to a line of sight to their emitter, frequently they act as independent autonomous beings so long as the device is on, no matter how far they go or if there are objects in between.
  • Glamour Failure: Despite often being the photonic equivalent of Deceptively Human Robots, they will exhibit signs of being artificial because they: don't cast shadows, hair or clothes won't flap in the wind, are "too simple," or are not rendered very realistically.
  • Stuttering and Static: Related to Glamour Failure, holograms generally fizz, pop, stutter and show other signs of malfunctioning right out of the box, though, for some reason, none of the users ever seems to notice this unless there's a connection issue. For examples see Hologram Projection Imperfection. Scanlines are also common, and most objects will be displayed as a single colour (usually blue) despite the sophisticated technology used to create it.
  • Clipping: Because they're intangible, people and objects can and will (hilariously) pass through them. Some holograms might have a "rendering failure" while so abused and go static-y, others might simply act annoyed, and some will gleefully stick their heads through walls like ghosts to see what's on the other side. Again, don't expect interposed objects to affect the emitter.
  • Integrated Speakers: One fun aspect of holograms is that they can actually speak or make noise, regardless of being unable to affect air or matter directly. This isn't a big deal for indoor or emitter-bound holograms, since it's not a big stretch to imagine there's also a speaker system hidden nearby. This is usually something that falls into Willing Suspension of Disbelief for unbound holograms though, since a holographic female computer avatar holding up an Etch-a-Sketch with her dialogue would be too funny.
  • Integrated Camera: A hologram AI or projected image of another person can usually see through the hologram's eyes, regardless of if a camera installed near the emitter would be limited in what it can see. It's usually understood that holographic technology can somehow not just project light but "see" everything in its vicinity.

Tropes that can overlap are Kiss Me, I'm Virtual, Virtual Training Simulation, and Artificial Outdoors Display. There are five subtropes, which may or may not overlap with each other.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Cowboy Bebop episode "Pierrot Le Fou". While fighting Mad Pierrot/Tongpu in the Space Land amusement park, Spike goes through a door into an area forbidden to customers. A hologram of a flying cherub appears, repeatedly telling him "It's not safe in here! Let's play outside" to try to get him to leave.
  • Used quite often in the later Macross series, usually in combination with Idol Singers:
    • In Macross Plus, the virtual idol Sharon Apple (whose processor unit is a HAL-like black metal box with an eye) can only "manifest" to her audience as endlessly-customizable holographic avatars. The one pulling the strings is the female protagonist Myung, a former singer who served as the template of Sharon's AI. By the end of the OAV, Sharon has taken control of the Macross itself, and she projects thousands and thousands of dreamlike holograms all across Macross City... as well as a titanic version of herself that envelops the titular mecha. Only Guld's Heroic Sacrifice, Myung's Action Survivor actions and Isamu's destruction of the AI itself manage to stop her.
    • Macross Frontier:
      • Sheryl Nome typically performs her songs wearing a full-body holo-suit onto which a variety of costumes are projected (from the Stripperiffic to the regal ones.) Despite their nature, these holographic costumes have some level of solidity, as they can interact with the environment and vice versa.
      • In a Shout-Out to the Macross Plus example, the climax of the series shows a gigantic hologram of Ranka Lee manifesting above the Vajra homeworld, depleting the NUNS pilots' morale and dropping the Frontier's populace into despair... and also disguising the Battle Galaxy under Grace's command. This hologram is disrupted when the Macross Quarter fires its Heavy Quantuum Cannon at it.
    • The members of Walkure in Macross Delta extensively use holograms, not just for stuff like instant costume changes, but to do things like distract a roomful of Aerial Knights so they can jump in and rescue the heroes.
  • Ladonia in Hetalia: Axis Powers, who lives in Cyberspace (and possibly also in Sweden) and only has a physical form as long as his laptop is turned on (and sometimes not even then).
  • In Aldnoah.Zero, Princess Asseylum uses a holographic disguise to keep herself hidden among Earthians. In the second season, her half-sister Lemrina uses holographic disguises to impersonate Asseylum, who is in a Convenient Coma.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! features holographic monsters created by the various Duel Disk or arenas used by the characters. In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V technology has developed enough for the holograms to be made of Hard Light. This is then promptly deconstructed as the hard light holograms can and do hurt people.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In episode 14, the Supermen visit Mr. Lightbulb's produce greenhouse, but one of them trips over a plug inside, loosening it and causing all the plants to disappear, revealing them to be holograms.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, Weslie's parents communicate with him through a hologram.

    Comic Books 
  • The Spider-Man villain Mysterio frequently uses holograms.
  • When Tom Strong travels to Terra Obscura, he encounters Dark Age Virtual Ghost the Terror.
    Tom Strong: The lasers aren't aimed at us. They're creating a criss-cross lattice of beams in the chamber's center. On my world, I've heard rumours of technology like this. Apparently, when two powerful lasers cross beams, it can create a hovering plasma ball... except this is scores of lasers. Properly manipulated, the plasma can emit almost intelligible sounds. They call the technology "God's voice"...
  • In one of Yoko Tsuno's stories, "The Prey and the Shadow", a secretary named Margaret is forced to become the model for one of these, for reasons that her boss won't disclose. Fearing for her life and that of another girl whom she's impersonated (said boss' daughter, the apparently mentally unstable Cecilia), Margaret decides to latch on the titular Action Girl for help... and she's got good reasons, since the hologram's a part of a cruel plan to get Cecilia killed.
  • X-Men: Nightcrawler has a device that creates a hologram to let him appear normal, but he rarely uses it.
  • Fantastic Four: Doctor Doom's Hologram Projector consist of a projector and a transmitter. It can project images derived from a signal from the transmitter. He often attaches the transmitter to one of his Doombots or other minions and watches the image from a safe location.
  • In Pouvoirpoint, starship Entreprise-2061 is occasionally visited by the crew of another distant vessel, in the form of glitching holograms. The main character himself makes a visit to the other ship in a holographic way.
  • Robin (1993): Villain Cheater uses holograms to fake people out on his location.
  • Superman:
    • Last Son: The Fortress of Solitude's central A.I. can generate a holo-image of Jor-El when talking to Superman if his owner so needs or wishes.
    • In Who is Superwoman?, Supergirl owns a comm device which projects a holographic image of her mother when Kara needs to talk to Alura.
    • The Killers of Krypton: When on route to Mogo, Kara peruses holographic videos displaying one battle between the Green Lantern Corps and the Darkstars.
    • In The Coming of Atlas, Lana Lang trying to use Lexcorp's resources to help Superman triggers a Lex Luthor hologram which informs her that she is fired, effective immediately.
    • In Strangers at the Heart's Core, a device called the "Voodoo Machine" can create and project virtually perfect, lifelike three-dimensional images.
    • The Untold Story of Argo City: While they are staying in Kandor, the Danvers talk to Supergirl using a "Tri-D-communicator" which projects miniaturized three-dimensional images from Fred and Edna.

    Fan Works 
  • Hound is famous for his hologramming ability in Transformers Meta.
  • In When There Was a Tomorrow, Noble Six fools Covenant soldiers with this hologram distraction several times. In a Shout-Out to Total Recall (1990), the last "hologram" asks some confused Covenant soldiers if they really think it's him, causing them to hesitate. It's him all right.
  • Magical holograms exist in Empath: The Luckiest Smurf, with the Imaginarium being a fantasy version of Star Trek holodecks. Same thing with Hero: The Guardian Smurf.
  • The Cloud Horn in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World turns out to be a hologram, and the musician Mevaryat confesses that for the last few concerts, another hologram of him playing the thing fooled the audiences. (They were keeping this a secret because the destruction of the Cloud Horn, the "Soul of Svenjaya," would have caused the Svenjaya to riot had it become known.)
    • Also, while on Tipaan trying to get the Cloud Horn in the first place, Ringo pretends to be a G'heddi'onian by wearing a portable holoprojector that lightens his skin and gives him a more appropriate face. He later uses it to sneak past some people looking for him.
  • Homecoming, 2026: An entity programmed by Mei Hartford manifested as a portrait on a video screen, "before stepping 'out' of the screen, leaving a static image behind. [and turning into a] [...] holographic figure[.]

    Films — Animation 
  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within used holograms for computer interfaces of all kinds, even keyboards. This leads to an awkward moment late in the film when the facility that a group of Red Shirts are in loses power, leaving the workers stuck at workstations suspended over an open area when the keyboards vanish. It also leaves them as sitting ducks when the Phantoms attack.
  • In the Australian animated film Go To Hell (1997), God and Satan are actually Ancient Astronauts G.D and his rebellious son Red. After helping the Israelites escape slavery in Egypt, Red uses a holographic projector to scare off bandits (by projecting a huge image of his pet snake) and insult G.D. (by projecting a huge middle finger).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension: The black Lectroid leader sends Buckaroo a record player-like device that generates a hologram of herself.
  • The Last Starfighter: The images Zur projected into the Starfighter base.
  • Outland: Naked holographic women dance (copulate?) in the bar used by the miners.
  • Resident Evil Film Series: The Red Queen's projected "little girl" image.
  • I, Robot: Dr Lanning uses a holo-mitter to speak to Detective Spooner after his "suicide".
    Lanning: I'm sorry, my responses are limited. You must ask the right questions.
  • Star Wars:
    • In A New Hope, Princess Leia's image projected out of R2-D2, and the chess pieces in the game between R2-D2 and Chewbacca.
    • You can see the evolution of the technology over the course of all six films. In the prequels, holograms are almost exclusively rendered in varying shades of blue. By the time of the original trilogy, they're in color, and much larger (see Vader's massive hologram of the Emperor in The Empire Strikes Back, and R2's larger-than-life hologram of Luke in Return of the Jedi).
    • By the time that The Force Awakens rolls around, holograms can be confused for the real person.
  • In Flubber, the robot Weebo projects a holographic hot girl avatar for herself to fondle the main character in his sleep. It's weirder in context.
  • Westworld: In Futureworld, two Delos guests play a chess game using holographic pieces.
  • Minority Report includes a scene with a holographic projection of a home movie. The film uses an interesting effect wherein the hologram only has partial depth and is not entirely three dimensional. It is not explained whether this is due to imperfect technology or the fact that the 3D hologram is trying to render from a 2D original.
  • Tank Girl: Kesslee's head after his operation.
  • The original Total Recall (1990) has a device to create a photorealistic hologram that mimics the user. It is used late in the film to trick a bunch of armed guards. There's also a tennis-training hologram that Lori uses to practice her serve. Total Recall (2012) has holograms used for things like signs, to Quaid's disguise, to the recording Hauser left to Quaid which is Hauser's head floating between two ornaments.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: When Duke first meets the Joes they have a device that projects a holographic image of their commander General Hawk.
  • Holograms are reasonably common in the future world of The Hunger Games, but an important distinction is that most of them are flat — i.e., simply projections of "classic", 2-D camera feeds into empty space. Practically every home in the Districts has a "holographic television" for mandatory viewing of Games and other Capitol news, and even President Snow has a projector on his desk to view Games footage (and, later, CCTV footage of the District 13 rebels), somewhat evoking Saruman's Palantír in The Lord of the Rings. (The projectors also all appear to be the exact same make or model, so it's not like there are different electronics firms making competing versions.)
    • One big exception is the fully 3-D projector, simply called a "Holo", in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, used by District 13 rebels to project a 3-D map of the Capitol and all the pods (booby traps) set within Capitol limits. It can also be rigged to self-destruct.
    • Gamemakers also work with an interactive Holographic Terminal capable of fully 3-D projection to show instant previews of arena manipulation.
  • Logan's Run: In the scene where Logan is interrogated about Sanctuary, the main computer creates holograms of his head that express his thoughts.
  • The Matrix: The bridge of the Nebuchadnezzar (and presumably the other hoverships) has a holographic display that shows other objects (like Sentinels).
  • The Whisperer in Darkness, made in the retraux style of a 1930s Universal Horror film, has the protagonist hooking a machine up to a Brain in a Jar and saying he's not going to be fooled by some parlour trick with a radio, only to be stunned to see a Huge Holographic Head talking back to him.
  • The whole plot of Pixel Perfect revolves around Roscoe creating a holographic lead singer for his friends' band.
  • In Back to the Future Part II, Marty McFly finds himself attacked by a holographic shark advertising Jaws 19 playing at a nearby holographic movie house in Hill Valley of 2015. Initially scared at first by the shark, Marty comments afterward that it still looks fake.
  • Cyberjack: Nick uses a set of holograms of himself running through a corridor to confuse the hell out of the bad guys, who spend about five minutes running all over the place trying to catch him before they realize the trick he's pulled on them. Then the last "hologram" runs up to The Brute and punches him in the face.
  • Escape from L.A.: For his government-mandated mission to the future hellhole of Los Angeles island, Snake is given a device that projects a holographic image of himself to fool enemies. Notably, he uses it in the climax to fool the dictatorial U.S. President.
  • In Six: The Mark Unleashed, a holographic program initiates those who have taken the Holy Implant (actually the Mark of the Beast) by telling them of the supposed benefits they now have with becoming part of the Community through the Implant — among them, longer lives and freedom to have unlimited sex with either gender.
  • Superman: The Movie gives Krypton a crystal world covered in glowing crystal interfaces, some of which come with Kal-El to Earth and can store the consciousness of Kryptonians (notably Jor-El). As one of the earliest superhero films, the crystal has made its appearance in Superman media since then.
  • Superman II:
    • In the Lester cut, Superman talks to the computerized image of his mother Lara in his Fortress of Solitude. Lara literally pops out of her crystal projection and reaches out to Kal-El before the Depower.
    • In the Donner cut, in the Fortress of Solitude Jor-El comes to life momentarily to re-power Kal-El.
    • Lex Luthor creates a laser hologram device to project images of himself and Otis playing chess. This fools the guards so Luthor and Otis can escape Metropolis Prison.
  • X-Men shows off a unique display of metal pins, as seen here.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe showcases holograms as standard tech for civilizations to have, starting from Iron Man where genius Tony Stark uses a holographic display for his work, and progressing into alien worlds like Asgard and Sakaar using displays for commonplace purposes.
    • Doctor Strange (2016) has the mages display magical displays of their power, with the Ancient One comparing it to a program or source code. There is also a relic, the Orb of Agamotto, a model of the Earth that projects magical displays to monitor any threats from other dimensions.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has Ego the Living Planet showing off displays made from his own earth and minerals.
    • Black Panther (2018) features the country of Wakanda using interfaces of vibranium particles that shift through sonar manipulation into various forms/shapes.
    • Spider-Man: Far From Home showcases the hologram-wielding villain Mysterio using rejected Stark Industries tech to stage a Monster Protection Racket.
    • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has two pendants owned by Shang-Chi and his sister Xialing be set in a dragon statue that unlocks a map made of water.
    • Eternals has Ajak employ a golden sphere to communicate with the Celestials. There is also a Uni-Mind device that links minds, causing golden Tron Lines to form across the bodies of the Uni-Mind members.
  • The DC Extended Universe has a great variety of this:
    • Man of Steel has a curious Kryptonian interface dubbed Liquid Geo, made from magnetic fluid metal similar to mercury.
    • The above magnetic fluid metal tech is used by Lex Luthor inside the Kryptonian ship that crashed on Earth to communicate with the New God Steppenwolf in the extended cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
    • Cyborg displays light holograms out of his cybernetic body in Justice League (2017) and Zack Snyder's Justice League.
    • Aquaman (2018) has holograms made of water.
    • SHAZAM! (2019) had the Wizard make magical displays of characters/events as part of his expositions to young Thad and Billy Batson.
    • Zack Snyder's Justice League features an alien interface made out of metal and fire that Steppenwolf uses to communicate with his superiors Desaad and Darkseid.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: I Love Wolffy 2, Wolffy uses one to communicate with Wolnie. Wolnie gets mad and throws frying pans at him, with the frying pans passing through the hologram.

  • Used to safely simulate monsters, enemy soldiers, weapons and other threats in Dream Park and its sequels.
  • In Neuromancer, the character Riviera is a showman with the ability to project holograms due to having an emitter implanted in his chest. He has a taste for guro-type shows when onstage, and offstage he's no better. For example, he likes to amplify his experiences in drug use by projecting a scorpion over his hypodermic while shooting up-and to create traffic accidents by projecting the scorpion onto the dashboards of passing vehicles and hoping the driver panics. It is also his Chekhov's Gun although firing it doesn't quite get the result he was hoping for. The other characters recognize immediately that a hologram is a controlled laser, and could be used as a laser weapon just strong enough to fry a retina over-easy, as the Finn puts it. Riviera eventually uses it as such against the ninja bodyguard Hideo. Unfortunately for Riviera, ninjas are quite skilled at enduring pain and fighting in the dark, so this serves only to make Hideo want to kill Riviera.
  • Return from the Stars has holographic "photos" (a flat piece of paper which displays a holographic face above when unfolded) as well as holographic theatre. The protagonist blunders into one such a spectacle, thinking it to be a gathering of real people and attempts to ask the actors for directions before realizing what a spectacle he has just made of himself.
  • A commonly used ability of the Chee in Animorphs, both the books and TV series. The Chee are androids who pass in human society with human holograms. They often project holograms to hide conversations with the Animorphs, or in at least one book, hide the kids' escapes with their parents.
  • The central atrium of the Prometheus Corporationís HQ in The Chronicles of Professor Jack Baling has an enormous hologram of Prometheus as its centerpiece.
  • Brown Girl in the Ring: Presumably, it's what a "deeplight projector" makes, as it creates the visuals and noise of angry kids made to scare people away from the actual kids who live in the subway.
  • The Further Adventures of Batman: In "Death Of The Dreammaster", while the Joint Chiefs are meeting with the President about a possible weapons contract, Batman demonstrates that it isnít really him by walking through the hologram. Between Batman and Nelson, itís clear that the hallucinations Bruce had been seeing were actually more holograms.
  • The Place Inside the Storm has an abandoned government base built into the side of a mountain, with holographic rock covering the opening. It's now home to a mostly-autistic separatist commune.
  • Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library: These are everywhere in the library. The front desk is manned by a recreation of Lemoncelloís childhood librarian, the atrium is ringed by holographic busts of famous authors, and the rest of the library contains projectors that show anything from a white tiger to Johannes Gutenberg.
  • Liv in the Future: Liv's friend Natalie is eventually able to visit her in the year 3000 as a hologram by using Bluetooth to connect her VR headset to Liv's Unizon watch.
  • In Bounders, tablets have a projection mode, which causes 3D images to fill the air above the tablet. It's used for playing video games.
  • An early example appears in Sylvie and Bruno: The fairy characters have the ability to create an illusion they call a "phlizz", which is visible but intangible.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Becoming implausibly common on present-day detective procedurals, including Bones and CSI: NY. Most police departments can barely afford toner for copiers, yet the lab rats still get this to play with? There is actually a way to project an image mid-air like this, though it requires lasers so powerful they'd start fires. The process also (sometimes) produces gasses that might turn the fluid in your eyes to acid. Bones did eventually phase out the absurd holographic rendering device (and it's been lampshaded that the Jeffersonian Institute has much nicer equipment than your average police station).
    • CSI: NY's episode "Air Apparent" in season 8 has a hologram come up as a plot point. Lab Rat Adam finds a piece of one that points them to the real killer because he'd taken the thing it was part of from it's original owner.
  • One incarnation of Andromeda (the Spaceship's Persona) is a hologram.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Actual holograms (as in, not volumetric displays) show up a handful of times as part of a Minbari fleet commander's standard equipment. Basically the displays fold down around the command staff and then the (flat) screens display fully 3D images of the battle around them.
    • The technomages play the trope straight, creating volumetric displays with no visible emitters, possibly crossing the line into Hard Light.
    • The Great Machine on Episilon III (the planet B5 orbits) has a holographic system to allow its living CPU to move about freely throughout the machine and even travel up to B5 on occasion. The Minbari Draal made extensive use of the system to the point that he forgets he's using a holographic body from time to time, and remarks that he must remember to dust his actual body every so often. Draal lets Commander Ivanova borrow the system where she walks in on an Earth Alliance political officer trying to seduce Captain Sheridan. Later, when Sheridan decides to have the station secede from the Alliance in response to the actions of the tyrannical President Clark, he uses the holographic system to make a public address announcing this fact.
  • Doctor Who has, naturally, done this on multiple occasions. Due to advances in CGI and special effects, they turn up more often on the new series.
    • "The Parting of the Ways" and "Blink" have holographic recordings of the Doctor in the TARDIS console room for various emergency protocols.
    • "The Ghost Monument" has one character, Ilin, who isn't physically present on the planet Desolation, appearing via hologram, and his tent, which may be a Hard Light projection.
  • Loki (2021) introduces a sentient hologram, Miss Minutes, who serves the Time Variance Authority as an office assistant.
  • Mission: Impossible has concealed hologram projectors as part of the team's arsenal since the later seasons in the '60s series. The '80s revival uses them even more frequently and even has an episode named after the trope.
  • Al from Quantum Leap.
  • Rimmer in Red Dwarf is a hologrammatic recreation of his dead self, sustained by a floating light bee. Since he cannot touch or taste anything, trying to get himself a real body is a recurring plot until he gets a Hard Light drive in Season VI that allows him to switch between hard and soft light modes. Holograms are apparently expensive to run: the only people to be resurrected are the ludicrously richnote  and a few vital Space Corps personnel (Red Dwarf can only run one holo at a time).
  • In RoboCop: The Series, Diana, a secretary whose memory was uploaded into the OCP supercomputer after she was killed, could project an image of herself in a hologram.
  • Stargate SG-1 seems to regard holograms as being pretty high up the technological tree, as full on holograms are the exclusive province of the Ancients and Asgard. Late on Anubis steals the plans, along with some other Asgard goodies. To what use does he put this technology? As an interstellar telephone with which to taunt his enemies, of course!
  • Star Trek in all its incarnations.
    • Of special mention are the Holodecks in Star Trek: The Next Generation and the Doctor in Star Trek: Voyager. Unlike many holograms, Federation holograms are as solid as they want to be, due to a combination of force fields and replicator technology. (Indeed, when a holodeck creates food for you to eat, it's no longer a hologram in any sense; it's real food, replicated on the spot.) They're also realistic enough to fool very smart people for extended periods of time (as in TNG's "Ship in a Bottle"). While 24th century Federation holodeck technology requires a lot of infrastructure, at one point Voyager's Doctor acquires a mobile emitter made with 29th century technology. It's smaller than a cellphone but allows him to travel anywhere.
    • Star Trek: Discovery provided an explanation why holographic communications were not used in place of viewscreens when the holo-communication system totally disabled the USS Enterprise, requiring several weeks of repairs. Captain Pike subsequently ordered the complete removal of the system from the Enterprise, and holo-communications did not start to make their way back on to Starfleet vessels in the late 24th century, as shown on Deep Space Nine.
  • Covered in the "Where's My Hoverboard?" episode of White Rabbit Project. Kari even shows viewers how to build a simple "hologram" viewer using some acrylic and an iPad.
  • In TekWar, TekLord Sonny Hokori uses a hologram to speak with detective Cardigan. During the conversation the hologram keeps disappearing and reappearing all over the area to taunt Cardigan. Cardigan then chases the hologram up a series of staircases and a ladder.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "Bits of Love", Aidan Hunter, alone in his underground bunker in the aftermath of a nuclear war, keeps himself from going stir crazy by creating holographic recreations of his parents and his best friend Griff and engaging in one night stands with various holographic women in a virtual reality chamber (since physical contact with the holograms is impossible outside of it).
    • In "The Haven", each of the 65 or more floors of the titular apartment building have the same holographic concierge George. This is seemingly true of every other building in the city equipped with the artificial intelligence Argus.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In "Her Pilgrim Soul", Dr. Kevin Drayton and his assistant Daniel Gaddis have developed a holographic projector for Holotechnics, Inc. It has the ability to create objects such as a ball and a chessboard as well as a projection of The Solar System. Nola Granville's soul enters the projector and creates a holographic image of her from a fetus to old age over the course of five days.
    • In "Profile in Silver", Professor Joseph Fitzgerald intends to record the assassination of John F. Kennedy on his holographic recorder, which is disguised as an ordinary 1963 movie camera. After seeing Lee Harvey Oswald taking aim in the Texas School Book Depository, however, he shouts for JFK and his entourage to take cover and averts the assassination. The Secret Service agent Ray Livingston grows suspicious of Fitzgerald, believing him to be a Soviet sleeper agent, and has the camera analyzed by Department of Defense metallurgists. They discover that it is made from an unknown alloy which is harder than steel and impervious to X-Rays. When confronted, Fitzgerald admits that he is a time traveler from the future and shows JFK and Livingston a holographic recording of the Dallas motorcade to prove his story.

  • Williams' and Bally's "Pinball 2000" platform used a mirrored glass to display animations, scores, and other information from a computer monitor onto the Pinball playfield, for a psuedo-holographic effect. Only two pinball machines were released on this system before the company closed: Revenge from Mars and Star Wars Episode I.
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon used a holographic creature in the middle of the playfield that lights up and waves its "hand" back and forth during multiball.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Call of Cthulhu supplement The Fungi from Yuggoth. The Yithian Communicator is a device the Yithians of the distant past use to communicate through time. The device has a red jewel that projects an image (presumably using laser light) of the Yithian itself.
  • Dungeons & Dragons. The Judges Guild supplement Wilderlands of the Magic Realm has an high-tech artifact in the shape of a boulder that is powered by geothermal energy. It projects a laser hologram of an elven princess.
  • Iron Crown Enterprises Cyberspace main rules. Several high tech items can generate holograms.
    • Electra brand holoclothes are exactly what they sound like: they consist entirely of a holographic image of clothes created by a belt-worn generator over the user's naked body. Better hope the batteries don't run down and the device doesn't malfunction (one known flaw is for the clothes to remain in a chair after the wearer gets up and walks away).
    • Holojewelry is a small holographic projector mounted on the wearer's body. It can create images such as false faces, masks, dancing flames and swirling mists of color.
    • Holovision is a device that can project three dimensional images. They can display TV shows, games or other forms of entertainment.
  • Isaac Asimov's Robots:
    • Tri-D projections are holographic in nature, hanging freely in the air.
    • Advanced robots, such as R. Daneel Olivaw, are capable of projecting three-dimensional images from their eyes, usually the video is something from their memory.
  • Classic Traveller:
    • Adventure 2 Research Station Gamma. One room in the station has a hologram of a constantly rippling waterfall on one wall.
    • Adventure 3 Twilight's Peak. In the Ancient base, when a gold wall patch is touched a section of wall opens and a holographic image of food appears. If the image is grabbed, the food will be teleported into the person's hand.
  • Marvel Super Heroes adventure MLBA1 Mutating Mutants. One of the rooms in the secret laboratory has holographic projectors that create illusions of Doctor Doom and two Sentinels (mutant-hunting robots).
  • Star Frontiers:
    • A holo screen is a defensive power screen that projects a three dimensional image (hologram) around its user. The holographic image is stored on a holodisc that is inserted into the holo screen.
    • Adventure SF1 Volturnus, Planet of Mystery. Several examples can be found inside the Eorna underground complex.
      • In the Asylum Common Room the PCs can find a holovision (three dimensional holographic television).
      • The Eorna History Museum and Cultural Center has displays explaining Eorna history and culture that include holograms.
  • GDW's Dark Conspiracy supplement Darktek. The Holoweb can create a moving holographic image.
  • In Rocket Age they range from big flashy projectors to wrist mounted devices ala Total Recall (1990).
  • The cooperative board game The Captain Is Dead features characters (roles) with various capabilities. The Hologram's advantages are offset by his inability to interact with the physical world directly (he is just an intangible projection of light) and by his dependence on certain ship systems remaining online.

    Video Games 
  • Beacon (2018): Mainly PRISM related, given that they're about sci-fi technology. From the mutations, Holo Head implies that the Holo means "hologram", especially how the actual "Hologram"-named mutations just look like more complex versions of the same, meaning, more lines and bigger. Presumably Holo Head was named to be more alliterative.
  • Used very often in the Metroid Prime Trilogy. Planets are commonly projected for navigation purposes and the Aurora Units in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption frequently relay messages in this form.
  • Rex Rocket: Lauren, the ship's A.I., projects an image of a woman to communicate with others.
  • In Halo, both the UNSC and the Covenant have holographic display technology (the latter having reverse-engineered them from the Forerunners), with human AIs in particular able to project visual avatars of themselves ranging from a female nude to a literal black box. Halo: Reach and Halo 4 also feature holograms that can be deployed to distract enemies, a Covenant technology that was later reverse-engineered by the UNSC.
  • In Destroy All Humans!, Crypto's commander, Orthopox, uses a holographic projector called a Holo Pox Unit to communicate with Crypto from the mothership.
  • Crosses with Real Life: Sega's Time Traveller and Holloseum notoriously claimed to be hologram games when it wasn't—it was basically a flat image suspended in midair using mirrors (ie relatively crude Pepper's Ghost technology).
  • Holograms in The Crystal Key look and act exactly like the ones from the Star Wars franchise (fittingly for a game where the villain is obviously meant to be Darth Vader.) They're all Apocalyptic Logs, and they're your primary source of backstory given that what few sentient beings are still alive are all working for the villain and trying to kill you.
  • Fairune 2 has a holographic Dramos used to display the solution to a puzzle in Blue Temple. In addition, This Layla may have been a hologram before being recreated in physical form in the ending.
  • Holography is a staple technology for the D'ni in the Myst games, ranging from two-dimensional images to 3D projections of people's heads. Yeesha's projector in Uru shows her as a full Projected Man.
  • Half-Life has 3D holograms used as trainers in the Hazard Course, and as a recorded message in the expansion pack Opposing Force. Freeman's Mind lampshades how the Hazard Course trainer is being projected with no visible equipment.
  • Ridiculously common in Dead Space, your characters inventory, access panels, even lift buttons are holograms projected on to thin air. Curiously all videos are 2D and limited to the colour blue.
  • Mass Effect has holograms for VI interfaces and communication. They are usually limited to a single colour at one time. Mass Effect 3 adds a Holographic Decoy power, which causes an image of the character using it to appear in the place it's aimed. Enemies may be fooled into attack it, and it can be upgraded to electrocute nearby enemies or even explode.
  • Assassin's Creed:
  • During the Space phase of Spore, players can buy a hologram emitter that will project a representation of the ship's Captain onto a planet's surface. Anything the hologram "grabs" is transported into the ship's hold.
  • Mega Man:
  • The Deus Ex series has holograms for communication purposes, oddly the holograms look the best in the Prequel (Deus Ex: Human Revolution) even being mistaken for real people on occasions but the worst in the last (canonical) game (Deus Ex: Invisible War) where they are tinged blue and strobe slightly.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Two holograms appear in Palace of Twilight as minibosses. Both of the holograms are of Zant, a major villain in the game; the holograms act as keepers of the Sols, alongside the hands that begin chasing Link as soon as he grabs them.
  • Tears to Tiara 2: Kleito is a dragon, but appears in the form of a [[Hologram]] of a little girl. The hologram is projected by the floating city of Tartetos, which also supplies her with magic and allows her to teleport within city limits.
  • Fallout:
    • Throughout the entire series, there are information storage devices known as "Holodisks"... and there are "Holotapes".
    • Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas; both games have "Brotherhood holotags" which are dog tags that are holographic.
    • Fallout 3 add-on Point Lookout; Professor Calvert or at least his brain. It's pretty much the only way he can communicate to people.
    • Fallout 3 add-on Mothership Zeta; The Alien Captain's message at the end.
    • Fallout: New Vegas add-on Dead Money; features multiple Holograms as walking cameras, security, vendors, and even living people like Dean Domino or Vera Keys, with the later recording her last moments. It also includes the "Sierra Madre vending machine" a self-contained matter transformation device that has a holographic interface that displays the item being purchased.
    • Dead Money also features the Holorifle, a weapon devised by Father Elijah as so he and the people he strong-armed into helping him could have a way to defend themselves in the dangerous casino. The holorifle fires a cluster of four hologram cubes that cause damage when they hit and extra damage for 15 damage for 3 seconds afterwards (this is referred to "holorifle damage").
    • Fallout: New Vegas add-on Old World Blues; features where the Holograms, and vending machines, of Dead Money were developed. Including a hologram of the K9000 cyberdog gun.
  • Rogue-archtype ships in Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages come equipped with hologram generators, which can be used to create decoys to confuse opponents.
  • Kirby: Planet Robobot has the Holo Defense API, which sends out holograms of Kracko, 2 Doomers, a Ice Dragon and the Coily Rattler to attack you.
  • Snake Broskin of Bro Force has the hologram makers from Escape from L.A. as his special move. The holograms are real enough to fool the (admittedly very stupid) Mooks and can act as a teleporter but at the cost of having the same range as a thrown grenade.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: Most of the "holograms" are actually Augmented Reality projected through a Focus device. Since Aloy is one of the only people with a Focus, companions will often ask why she appears to be listening to nothing or manipulating the empty air with her hands. However, holograms did exist, they were just rare. In the "Frozen Wilds" DLC, Ourea's Spirit and the facility she controls makes use of holograms.
    Aloy: You might... see things. Images, drawn from light. Don't be alarmed.
  • Portal Reloaded: Used to show the location of portals and cubes in the future or past, when in the other.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • The vagrant in Broken Saints is revealed to be a holographic avatar of Big Bad Lear Dunham.
  • Red vs. Blue has Agent Conneticut, whose armor allows her to use holograms to distract and deceive enemies.
  • The Invisible Hideout used by the Bravest Warriors has a Holo John, a room capable of producing hard light projections like the Holodeck in Star Trek. As the name implies, it is also the bathroom.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Arthur has "Binky", a virtual band, whose life performances are basically holographic projections.
  • Ben 10: All versions of the Omnitrix starting from Alien Force project holograms of the selectable alien forms. The AF/UA version projects detailed holograms of individual aliens, while the Omniverse version has a wheel, which allows more aliens to be viewed at once, but has a more minimalist design and only shows the aliens' faces.
  • Jem is one of the most iconic examples, featuring Jerrica Benton disguising herself as the superstar Jem with help from her father's supercomputer Synergy.
  • Scooby-Doo loves these. Villains often uses projectors (holographic or otherwise) to make their act seem more genuine.
  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures has holograms, coming in both a blue, full-body, full-size projection that's, and a small, flat, orange head-only projection that is emitted from a villain's communication wristband.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, all Miseryville phones can project holograms.
  • In the Julius Jr. episode Do the Dez Bop, it is revealed that Marv has a hologram camcorder/projector system hidden in his hat.
  • Wade uses a hologram projector to enable Kim Possible to spend time with her cousin Larry while simultaneously accompanying Ron to Monty Fiske's mansion. The real Kim is with Larry, somewhat to her dismay since she considers him an annoying gamer-geek. This leaves Ron and Rufus on their own when Fiske turns out to be a villain....
  • Men in Black: The Series: The two-part finale "The End Game Syndrome" features a hologram broadcast from orbit with the ability to project lethal energy beams.
  • Ever since the Ready Jet Go! special "Back to Bortron 7", holograms have been used egregiously on the show. They have been used to deceive the neighbors, show maps of the galaxy, take online classes, and more.
  • Mitsuko Miyazumi of Archer is the holographic girlfriend of scientist and major weeaboo Krieger. There have been at least two versions of her, but they are indistinguishable from one another.

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):


Talking to robo-bug

Uzi meets a robotic bug that can communicate through holographically displayed text and voice recognition, albeit with some flaws.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / MechanicalInsects

Media sources: