by Dom Galeon, Futurism
For many sci-fi fans, a truly working hologram is Princess Leia asking Obi Wan Kenobi for help. While that’s clearly science fiction, a projected image that one can observe from all angles may have just become the only hope for authentic 3D projections.
This is the subject of a new study published in the journal Nature, detailing how a team of physicists led by Daniel Smalley from the Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, have managed to project moving 3D images viewable at any angle.
Smalley doesn’t call it a hologram, however. “This is doing something that a hologram can never do — giving you an all-round view, a Princess Leia-style display — because it’s not a hologram,” he told Nature News. An actual hologram, as it exists today, is an image projection coming from a source limited to a particular angle. It can’t be viewed perfectly from all sides.
What Smalley’s team developed is a technique they call volumetric display, where a single particle of a plant fiber called cellulose is trapped and heated evenly using forces from near-invisible laser beams. To illuminate the particle as it moves through space, pushed and pulled by the beams forces, a second set of lasers project visible light onto it.
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