This is an overview article which contains background information and cross-game comparisons. For game-specific information and stats, see the articles linked on the right.
A hologram is an intense coherent monochromatic light reconstructed into a three-dimensional representation of a person, object or symbol. For humans, it is a highly advanced technology that was never widely used before the Great War, only in few places. However, aliens widely use holograms but don't use it as a weapon, only for symbolic representation of a function, for personal defense and for communications.
Hologram technology was an advanced experimental technology before the Great War and never achieved the same level of prominence as other technology. This was notably due to the excessive energy requirements, and the cost of research and required materials necessary to create it. They were virtually unknown to the public and remained a rare technology, even outside of the public eye.
It is believed hologram technology originally stemmed from Stealth Boy research in a scientific drive to match Chinese stealth suit technology. The first prototype of holographic technology was developed sometime before the Great War at the request of Frederick Sinclair for his project, the Sierra Madre Casino. Under the name "hologram project", they were created in Big MT by the Big MT company at the Z-38 lightwave dynamics research using a giant light generator. The initial research was a success, but Sinclair wanted them to go further: to develop holograms to use as a means of defense.
Big MT refused, imagining the cost to turn the holograms into something beyond walking cameras and greeters. However the company N.E. was willing, and signed an exclusive contract with Sinclair to make hologram greeters, vendors and security guards. Working from technology already developed in Big MT, they succeeded. Due to the intensive energy requirements, holograms were linked with a nearby hologram emitter, allowing them only a limited area of travel.
Outside of Big MT and the Sierra Madre, Professor Calvert developed his own hologram projector to communicate with the Point Lookout tribals in . Vault-Tec also seemed to have an interest in this technology just before the Great War, as a holographic prototype system, allowing a person to use a holographic point for appearing on a another holographic point, giving a holographic appearance to talk only, was used in the Vault prototype and the Secret Vault.
Service protocol holograms perform a specific function - greeters, simple vendors, or in the case of the Sierra Madre casino itself, even monitoring gambling tables. These service holograms follow simple routines, and are incapable of performing any security function.
Security protocol holograms do just as the name implies: provide security. They perform this function better than most conventional security guards. Not only do security holograms look like Sierra Madre personnel, they will respond to threats or unauthorized personnel just as conventional security guards would.
Security holograms use field of view sensors to perceive their environment and to aid in pathing. The memory cells in hologram emitters can only perceive their environment in a cone in front of them. They can, however, change facing as needed and scan their environment for unauthorized activity. Security holograms are often found in pairs to cover a full view of the environment, as trespassers could conceivably use hologram blindspots to gain access to unauthorized areas.
If security holograms detect unauthorized guests or criminal action, they will display a yellow "caution" color to the target. If the behavior persists, they will enter engagement mode, turn red, and attempt to subdue targets with their discharge beams.
Often, an intruder's natural response is to attack a security hologram, either with fists or with a weapon. Unfortunately, all such assaults are useless against security holograms. They cannot be wounded, damaged, or harmed unless their emitter is destroyed. Attackers spending the time to look for emitters will usually be rendered unconscious by a hologram's discharge beams before they can disable them.
Security holograms will sometimes be disguised as guests (for example, the apartment area has several holograms of Vera Keyes, which are actually security holograms) or normal staff. One way to identify them is to approach them. Only security holograms will change their color from blue to yellow, and if you don't leave their range of detection, they will turn red and attack.
As with service holograms, security holograms cannot leave emitter range. They will pursue a target to the emitter's perimeter, however. Hologram emitters are sturdy, yet can still be damaged or broken if enough force is applied. In addition, while they are protected inside sturdy space age alloys, their circuits are vulnerable to being tampered with.
- Holograms are invulnerable as seen in G.E.C.K. files, thus even trying to kill them with the console command "kill", they will not die.
- In cut content for, it seems like it was actually possible for the Courier to obtain the Sierra Madre hologram technology.
- If you trigger a security hologram, just leave it alone for a while (stay hidden), you have to wait until their color turns blue again before making your move.
- You can turn some security holograms to a non-hostile state by using terminals near their location.