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article imageArizona scientists unveil 'Star Wars' type 3D holograms

By Andrew Moran     Nov 5, 2010 in Technology
Phoenix - Think three-dimensional holograms are a science-fiction invention? Scientists have unveiled that they have the world's first prototype that displays an image in front of the person and is viewable on all sides.
In a lot of science-fiction, fantasy and futuristic motion pictures, there is usually at least one presence of a 3D hologram that displays an object on all sides. It is believed that glasses-free 3D televisions were the next technological advancement, but research scientists have done the next best thing.
“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope,” said Princess Leia in a hologram in the “Star Wars” film.
According to the University of Arizona News, a team of researchers at the College of Optical Sciences, in partnership with the Nitto Denko Technical Corporation, have developed a 3D hologram prototype by employing 16 high-definition cameras to make a 45-degree view of an image.
“Holographic telepresence means we can record a three-dimensional image in one location and show it in another location, in real-time, anywhere in the world,” said one of the study’s leading authors, Nasser Peyghambarian. “Holographic stereography has been capable of providing excellent resolution and depth reproduction on large-scale 3D static images, but has been missing dynamic updating capability until now.”
The 3D image also has a higher refresh rate, which is every two seconds. Researchers were able to do this by utilizing a special plastic on a screen that has chemicals that have a specific reaction to lasers that shoot holographic pixels.
After a couple of minutes, the hologram can either fade away by natural dark decay or be erased by recording a new 3D image.
In layman’s terms, how does it work? Peyghambarian explained: “Let's say I want to give a presentation in New York. All I need is an array of cameras here in my Tucson office and a fast Internet connection. At the other end, in New York, there would be the 3D display using our laser system. Everything is fully automated and controlled by computer. As the image signals are transmitted, the lasers inscribe them into the screen and render them into a three-dimensional projection of me speaking.”
Findings from the study can be found in the Nov. 4 issue of the scientific journal Nature.
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