Spatial light modulators (SLMs) are key research tools in several contemporary applied optics research domains. In this paper, we present the argument that an open platform for interacting with SLMs would dramatically increase their accessibility to researchers. We introduce HoloBlade, an open-hardware implementation of an SLM driver-stack, and provide a detailed exposition of HoloBlade’s architecture, key components, and detailed design. An optical verification rig is constructed to demonstrate that HoloBlade can provide Fourier imaging capability in a 4f system. Finally, we discuss HoloBlade’s future development roadmap and the opportunities that it presents as a research tool for applied optics.
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