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Displays Science Technology

Real-Time Holograms Beam Closer To Reality 79

sciencehabit writes "It's not quite the flickering blue projection of Princess Leia begging, 'Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!' from the classic sci-fi movie Star Wars, but holographic projection has just beamed a bit closer to reality. Researchers in Arizona have devised a novel plastic film that can be used to generate holographic 3D images sent electronically from one location to another. The technology opens the door for everything from holographic surgery to movies that literally surround the viewer."
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Real-Time Holograms Beam Closer To Reality

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  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @04:20PM (#34116492) Journal movies that literally surround the viewer.

    Why on earth would I want that? I have a hard enough time taking everything in with 3D movies!

  • by CyprusBlue113 ( 1294000 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @04:22PM (#34116520)

    The goal with that wouldn't be for you to take it all in, the focus would still be at singular points, or on an overall scene. The goal would be the feeling of complete immersion in the movie, which would be *amazing*.

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @04:33PM (#34116674) Homepage
    5 years. It's always 5 years away. Has been that way ever since I can remember.

    Keep saving for the Holodeck. It's good for the economy (I guess).
  • Refresh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by demonbug ( 309515 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @04:34PM (#34116686) Journal

    Sort of interesting, but the video doesn't really show the image being updated - it just goes from a blank bit of plastic to one with the hologram etched inside. The article also doesn't really make it clear if the same bit of plastic can be re-used fro the next image, which it seems would be a requirement to show video; if that's the case, why don't they show the image being changed? It's great that they can make the image in 2.15 seconds, but how long does it take to erase and write the next one?

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @04:37PM (#34116730)

    Think of Avatar, but as a video game (you don't watch the protagonist, you are the protagonist). That's where games are heading and will overtake movies. The holodeck.

  • CNN (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @04:39PM (#34116740) Homepage

    So what? They've had this on CNN for at least 2 years now.

    And man, it's made their news reporting so much better.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @04:41PM (#34116766) Homepage

    We see things because light either comes from, through or bounces off of the things we see. The problem with our concept of projected holograms is that we need to get the light to do something special in the air. Either we cause light to be generated in the air or somehow cause a reaction with particles in the air at specified points. Projecting onto mist and smoke in the air has been successful. We know how to bounce things off of solid objects, even when those solid objects are in the form of tiny particles.

    So just as most people are WAY off in thinking that we can make lightsabers and blasters with laser beams, most are way off in thinking we can project light beams to create a hologram.

    It may never be possible until we start working out how we can teleport antimatter streams into patterns into 3D spaces occupied by existing matter. A matter+antimatter reaction in tiny amounts in air just might create the points of light needed to create holographic images in the air. Even that would not be sustainable for a video stream, I fear, as all sorts of things are likely to go awry while antimatter reacts with the matter particles in the air.

    Projecting light onto a plastic film is a LONG way from creating a hologram in the air and it is probably moving in the wrong direction even to try.

  • by Interoperable ( 1651953 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @04:57PM (#34116924)

    A matter-antimatter reaction in air might work if your eyes see gamma rays. Mine only see this lame portion of the spectrum called visible radiation.

    I also think it's a bit funny that you feel that an anti-matter teleporter is a more tractable problem than a free-space hologram. Here's an idea: use high-intensity infra-red beams to heat tiny pockets of air and then use the index-of-refraction gradient to deflect (or better yet, scatter) visible light. Maybe that won't work, but my point is that there just might be hologram technologies that are easier to implement than a teleporter.

  • Re:Surgery? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @05:22PM (#34117180) Journal

    My question is, "Why this push to do remote surgery?" I can see why in specialized cases, but wouldn't the expense to fly the patient or doctor and staff/equipment to an appropriate place be cheaper at this point? Would the cost differences ever merge to the point that holographic remote surgery is feasible?

    That's a good question on per-procedure costs.

    But there are tons of other cost savings and benefits... like the cost of having a dozen(s) different specialist surgeons at every hospital. Access to better surgeons, not just whatever-surgeon-your-local-hospital-is-affiliated-with.

    But think of the possibilities of offshoring! An insurance company could save millions upon millions each year by paying surgeon salaries in India or China instead of in the US.

  • Re:Not a Holograph (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr2001 ( 90979 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @05:31PM (#34117268) Homepage Journal

    Perhaps I am missing something, but this technology doesn't seem like a holograph at all. It seems like it's a dynamic hologram.

    A holograph is a document written entirely in the handwriting of the person whose signature it bears. []

    When I think holograph, I think about a three-dimensional figure of light being projected onto a table top.

    That's a special effect you see in movies. It's not real, and there's no real theory for how such a thing could even be made. Dismissing this real, working technology because it doesn't look like a Hollywood "hologram" is like dismissing a laser-powered rifle because it doesn't shoot a solid, brightly colored chunk of light that flies across the room like in Star Wars.

    (Sorry, I'm closely related to a pioneer in holography and worked in the field for several years, so I can be pedantic about it sometimes.)

  • by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @05:33PM (#34117274)
    Thank you summary, I was unaware of where that quote came from. It is only due to your diligence that I am now informed of that piece of movie trivia.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly