Debunked: Bleen 3D Clear Air Hologram [Indigogo Hoax]

Mick West

Staff member
Bleen^ is the name of an Indigogo campaign^ that has already raise $50,000 of a $250,000 goal, and claims to sell a clear air 3D projection system that has been widely decried^ as breaking the laws of physics, and most likely being some kind of hoax or scam.

The campaign itself is very slick, but closer inspection reveals very little of substance. There are impressive looking images of the system in operation, but they are all simply composite images of stock photos.

The above image is a good example of the impossibility of the claims. It's in a brightly lit room, and yet is projecting characters that are a dark grey. It would have to project darkness - this is physically impossible.

They have a slick looking video, but it's only slick because it's just stock footage^, with a bit of 3D compositing that any computer art student could do:

Again the above image is physically impossible, with a brightly lit window being somehow darkened by projected light.

There looks like an impressive array of people working on the project, but suspiciously they don't seem to appear anywhere else. The "Chief Scientist", for example, Vladimir Titar, sounds impressive:

He even has his own Wikipedia page, however it is entirely unreferenced, full of claims that lack citations, and has been flagged for deletion: [Update: now deleted]
They also have a (non-working) online store^, but again the images are just mockups.

If, as pretty much everyone on the internet has suggested, this is a scam, then why are people falling for it? I think this is largely because people have an unrealistic perception of what is possible with 3D projection systems, based on what they have seen on TV, or possibly at live events, or even at theme parks.

Remember, what Bleen claims to be is a "clear air" hologram. A projection essentially onto nothing more than the air in the room, and which is visible in full color in daylight. There is no known way of doing this that conforms to the current understanding laws of physics.

The only current clear air projection system uses focussed powerful lasers to excite the air to a plasma state (effectively superheating the air so that it explodes in a rapid series of tiny localized sparks). This creates a very simple monochrome image of a few dots. It's also accompanied with a loud buzzing sound, as it's like a very rapid series of tiny explosions. It's actually quite dangerous.

So if that's the state of the art, then why do people think that full color clear air projections are possible in their living room for $400? The answer starts with Tupac, and his posthumous appearance at the Chochella music festival as a "hologram".

In fact this was not a hologram, it was not even 3D, it was simply a form of live image compositing that has been used for over a hundred years. The live performer (Snoop Dogg) stands behind a semi-transparent reflective screen, which reflects a 2D image (of a computer generated Tupac) projected onto the ground in front of it, as seen in this patent^:

While that patent is from 1999, the actual technique has been around for much longer. It's known as "Pepper's Ghost"

So since so many people are superficially familiar with "holograms" being used over the last ten years, they see nothing amazing about Bleen's claim. The problem here is that the Tupac style "holograms" are entirely unlike what is being claimed by Bleen.

Another "hologram" that isn't a hologram is the increasing use of three dimensional compositing in TV news.

This is even less of a hologram than the Tupac example. The image is not even there in the studio, it's just composited together with one person in a green screen studio, and a set of cameras that are synchronized^.

So it seems like Bleen are taking advantage of these unrealistic expectations, and having people send them money for what appears to be nothing less than a magic box. Why is Indigogo allowing this? Queries about the campaign got this stock response from the "Trust and Safety" department:

That was Nov 14, nearly two weeks ago, and the campaign is still there. And note that they use "Flexible Funding", which means they will get all the money raised, even if they don't raise all that they claim they need to make the product.

So if you give them money it's essentially a donation, and they don't have to give the money back, let alone actually deliver you a magic projector. See the disclaimer on the Indigogo page:
Other sites that have a skeptical view of these claims: ( ( ( (
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Pete Tar

Senior Member.
I never understand why representations of futuristic supposedly state-of-the-art display systems in sci-fi are transparent - what's the point of an image that allows you to see the background through it? It's not practical at all.
(slightly off-topic sorry)

Mick West

Staff member
I never understand why representations of futuristic supposedly state-of-the-art display systems in sci-fi are transparent - what's the point of an image that allows you to see the background through it? It's not practical at all.
(slightly off-topic sorry)

Well, it beats no image at all. Blocking light in thin air with more light seems like a considerably harder problem than creating light in thin air.


Senior Member.
I never understand why representations of futuristic supposedly state-of-the-art display systems in sci-fi are transparent - what's the point of an image that allows you to see the background through it? It's not practical at all.
(slightly off-topic sorry)
you wouldn't know its a hologram with out the transparency. or I guess you could put a big "H" on their foreheads.

Mick West

Staff member
The transparency issue is another thing wrong with the mock-up images. If it is creating an isosurface (basically a thin shell) of light, then you would be able to see the back side of the object through the front. Even if it were only viewable from one general direction, you'd still at least see this around the edges.

Mick West

Staff member
Here's another "Hologram" that isn't:

Looks like a life sized full color thin-air hologram. But it's actually just a screen cut to the shape of the woman, and then rear-projected. The actress just has to stay very still, so she does not move beyond the outline.

The view from behind will be the same as the view from the front

So again, we have the problem of the casual viewer thinking that clear-air full-color 3D holograms are quite possible, because they have seen something that's entirely unrelated.


Active Member
Gaming has sought this out, but it doesn't seem possible or feasible. I believe Sony tried some sort of full room projection unit to "immerse" you in the game, but it never went full public.
Truth be told, I'm not even a fan of "3-D" gaming since the images are themselves supposed to be 3D. Really the areas that gaming needs to work on to move the whole industry forward is AI. Make the enemy and friendly AI much better than it is. One game that did a really solid job of this was Alien: Isolation.
But really at the end, I think the industry is hungry for a new avenue to make money. Motion controls were tried (not good), 3-D wasn't widely used, and other gimmicks.


Senior Member.
It's interesting that a patent was granted in 1999 of a pepper's ghost video projection technique in common use in the 1980s and probably earlier. Hard to see what's novel in their patent that hasn't already been seen commercially over a decade earlier. Video projection onto a screen that is reflected on an angled mirror and superimposed to a stage was used in the Australian Pavilion at World Expo88 in Brisbane and a miniature version in the Japanese pavilion and in various incarnations at Questacon science centre Canberra. In the Australia pavilion an Aboriginal actor live on stage interacted with video representations of mythical dreamtime characters like the Rainbow serpent etc. The technique was already old hat back in 1987 when the pavilions were designed and the exhibition companies at the time were concerned that the public would be tired of seeing the same old fake "hologram" techniques used for decades. I worked at the time in an exhibition company and there were numerous examples of variations of these principles used in previous Expos years earlier and in numerous trade shows. In 1988 The Russian pavilion ironically had real white light laser generated holograms with subjects that moved when viewed from different angles and the public was rather unimpressed with genuine 3D holograms. Non video versions of the angled mirror peppers ghost technique using carefully lit and oddly angled animatronic displays aligned with Sets is the means for many decades of generating many of the moving ghost stage effects at Disney's "Haunted Mansion" and displays such as the Ghostbuster's theme-park.


Closed Account
There's some discussion about Terry Benedict (formerly BleenInc) who edited most of the bleen related wiki pages here


New Member
I'm not sure why this is so hard to believe. In the very same collection of new tech at MSN, they reported a device that transmits energy, through the air, to a group of LED lights on a Christmas tree (first time I've seen a device transmit ENERGY, rather than INFORMATION. See Tesla, the person). I'm not sure how it works, but highly constricted magnetic fields have been supporting energy and matter in "mid-air" at Berkeley's nuclear reactor for years now. The reaction takes place at millions of degrees, so it can't come into contact with anything - including air.

Mick West

Staff member
I'm not sure why this is so hard to believe.

For the reasons stated in the first post. Particularly the idea of creating darkness, and the current state of the art being exploding points of air into plasma.

Energy transmission over the air (over short distances) is nothing new or surprising. The suggested holographic projector basically rewrites physics.

They got $66,996. If you think it works, I'll bet you $100 they produce nothing at all like what they are claiming in the next five years.


Active Member
(first time I've seen a device transmit ENERGY, rather than INFORMATION. See Tesla, the person).

Strictly speaking all wireless transmissions are transmitting energy. It's just (relatively) small amounts that usually aren't enough to power the receiving device. That might be changing though.

Mick West

Staff member
So, as expected, the Bleen folk took the money and ran. Their web site vanished, and their Facebook Page fell silent, with just a few plaintive inquiries from backers asking when it's coming out

But I was reminded of this today with a story about a laser powered razor (which cuts your hair off with a razor for a "clean and easy" shave), which was banned from Kickstarter because Kickstarter now has the very sensible requirement of asking for a working prototype.
Indigogo does not have this requirement. While this obvious does not mean that all the device-based Indigo campaigns are bogus, it's certainly one thing to consider when evaluating this type of thing.


New Member
I was one of the people that contributed to the Bleen campaign and had a feeling from the start that this was bogus but it was convincing enough to shell out $200 for a chance to acquire the technology if it had been possible. This device was splashed all over the internet by some very reliable news, media, and tech websites. Funny that I still owe them $175 when the thing ships! Luckily, they were only able to scam just over $66,000 (the Indegogo campaign is STILL up!).

I also wonder if I can recover my original expenditure since I believe I paid through Paypal and they have some sort of buyer protection in place? I'll have to check on that when I get done posting this.


Staff member
There looks like an impressive array of people working on the project, but suspiciously they don't seem to appear anywhere else. The "Chief Scientist", for example, Vladimir Titar, sounds impressive:

He even has his own Wikipedia page, however it is entirely unreferenced, full of claims that lack citations, and has been flagged for deletion: [Update: now deleted]

Does anyone know anything more about this man? I found him in this YouTube video, but I don't speak Russian.

Translated description:

No demonstration, just Titar talking.


Senior Member.
Does anyone know anything more about this man? I found him in this YouTube video, but I don't speak Russian.

The presentation is in Russian, but this guy works in the Kharkiv State University, Ukraine. I have listened to his talking, he said nothing about the implementation of his project. He begins with saying that numerous western attempts to create a holographic TV system failed despite huge investment ($10 billion). Then he talks about technical problems the previous designers would have encountered and goes to his "solutions", suggested by the studies of human vision. According to him "our eye is an ideal holographic TV set", hence the working system can be created through the imitation of the eye's work.


Staff member
Thanks @Trailspotter, I should have thought to tag you for Russian translation!

This Bleen thing reminds me of the promo videos for Magic Leap, an augmented reality company that is seeking funding. While not quite as misleading as Bleen (and Magic Leap has some serious investors and appears to have real technology), they are still being widely misunderstood.

For instance these videos been shared a lot on Facebook with the usual claims of holograms, "Project Blue Beam" etc.

What the videos don't make clear is that Magic Leap is working on augmented reality. To see the images shown in the video, you would have to be wearing a headset projecting the images into your eye. They are computer graphics (and I am doubtful they would appear as "solid" as in the video). And again, how does the elephant "cast a shadow"? Apparently projected light is making the background darker, which seems impossible. (Unless the graphics are artificially lightening the background except in the "shadow" area, perhaps?)

Magic Leap does claim to have some clever selling points, though. The headset apparently generates a 3D model of the user's surroundings, so that the superimposed graphics can "hide behind" nearby objects. (In reality, of course, the computer just doesn't draw them in that spot.)

Also it claims to generate the images at a distant focal plane, so they blur with their apparent surroundings as your eye changes focus.

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Senior Member.
Does anyone know anything more about this man?
I have found a PDF with a collection of the VP Titar's papers (in co-authorship with another person, there are authors' photos and CVs at the end). It has been published by the Kharkiv University in Russian with a Ukrainian abstract and is entitled: "Colour and control of gravitation":

An apparent pseudoscience, to say politely.


Senior Member.
I was one of the people that contributed...I still owe them $175 when the thing ships!
I'm sorry for you, J P.

if there's a silver lining, it's that you now have a net worth of about $175 dollars more than you thought.

Barry Prior

New Member
I was looking on MSN and saw an article about this suggesting that this was a real technology. Yes I saw all the short falls but hoped I was wrong but as pointed out here it is rubbish. The only technology that could produce this kind of image would involve holographic plates which form an image that appears in front of the plate. To produce moving images now would involve thick plates made up of many thin layers of LED screens defeating the point of the exercise. Wish MSN would check things out before publicizing things. There are technologies that work such as rotating screws and smoke filled containers but non in thin air and non with such clear stable results.


New Member
honestly I dont believe how dumb people can be. no insult but seriously. they entered a flex-funding campaign knowingly that when it wont get the goal that the scammers will still get their money and dont have any obligations.

that's why I first (and yet only) contribution was on kickstarter because they are a lot more strict (wont kill everything but needing a working prototype helps a lot) on a project that makes a lot more sense and is a lot more possible than future's science like bleen.
I mean you have to project light on something and you cannot create darkness out of nowhere (except you are named blackbeard and live on the Grand Line, but enough joking)

Mick West

Staff member
Another example of what is currently possible, from 2018

This is a true volumetric image, in that it exists in clear air, in the actually space it looks like it is in, and can be viewed from any angle.

It works kind of like an old TV, but as well as the beam painting a picture one bit a a time, it also moves the "screen", which in this case is a tiny particle trapped by the intersection of lasers.

Very limited to small dim images, it suffers from the same fundamental issues as the plasma clear air projection:
  • it can't project darkness.
  • It creates a volume of light, so all parts are visible from all sides. Princess Leia's face would be visible through the back of her head.
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