German company Zeiss has unveiled a brand-new technology: Holocam. Holocam transforms any glass pane into an invisible, transparent camera.

At CES 2024, Zeiss presented its new product to the general public. The company is renowned for its photographic and cinematographic lenses, microscopes and telescopes, but also for its capacity to innovate in optics. The Holocam is one of their latest discoveries. A completely invisible camera integrated into a pane of glass, this technology has potential applications in a wide range of fields, from digital communications to automotive and home security.

The Holocam is a genuine exploit in the field of optics, which “relies on holographic insertion, light-guiding and separation techniques to redirect light passing through a transparent medium to a hidden image sensor”. All light passing through the glass surface is redirected not to a traditional lens, but to a tiny device invisible to the naked eye. As a result, the camera is completely transparent. It’s possible “to have direct eye contact with the person you’re talking to”, since the camera can be placed anywhere.

Zeiss already sees a wide range of practical applications: fully invisible parking cameras, smart doorbells without a separate camera module, webcams that allow you to look at any part of your screen, and the possibility of integrating facial or gesture recognition systems on any screen.

Potentially harmful consequences for privacy

At CES, Zeiss focused on the advantages of Holocam for automotive applications. One example is a windscreen capable of detecting driver fatigue. However, it’s impossible not to think of slightly more borderline applications for this technology.

The idea that any window, or even a shower door, could contain a camera is not particularly reassuring. Nobody wants to be recorded without their knowledge. If we go one step further, the Holocam could very well be used to support criminal activities.

From a strictly scientific point of view, the Holocam is a feat that cannot be denied. As far as ethics and respect for confidentiality are concerned, this technology will have to be properly regulated if it is adopted in the future.

Source : Digital Camera World