Many hologram Stars Wars scenes, such as R2-D2 beaming a 3D image of Princess Leia into thin air, could soon be a reality with the discovery of the so-called”Volumetric Display” or “Optical Trap Display.” This device could create a solid three-dimensional image in a space and is described as more realistic than existing holograms.
The findings of the discovery were published in Nature. The study was led by scientists from Brigham Young University in Utah. Daniel Smalley, the lead author of the study, said that the new technology is like “printing something in space, just erasing it very quickly,” as noted by Phys.org.
Optical Trap Display works by using an invisible laser beam that traps a minute opaque particle in mid-air. Then, it moves the laser beam in the planned path in free space. It also lightens up the particle with red, green, or blue lights. Once the particle is rapidly moved, it then generates a solid holographic 3D image in the space. And when you move it even faster, it could produce a phantom of movement, according to Gizmodo.
Smalley described the image as a 3D-printed object. He explained that a single point was dragged sequentially in all these image points, and as it did, it scattered light. He further explained that the accumulated effect of all that scattering and moving was to produce a 3D image in space that could be perceived from all angles.
Fantastic – the display breakthrough many have long waited for:
Physicists create Star Wars-style 3D projections (volumetric display, actually better than true holograms)https://t.co/vInUrffv8x pic.twitter.com/QEikfH9z8J
— Ross Dawson (@rossdawson) January 24, 2018
In holograms, you could not view the image from all angles. Curtis Broadbent of the University of Rochester, who is not part of the study but is working on a competing technology, described the new invention as really cool. He said that you could have a circle of people stand around it and each person would be able to see it from their own perspective.
The new technology could be applied to medical procedures, aviation, and entertainment in the future. Currently, scientists are figuring out how to have bigger projections and bigger images. They are optimistic and hopeful that this technology would be available and in use in the future.