Holograms are something that we attribute to science fiction. We've seen them in Star Wars, and various other science fiction movies, and still, nothing even close has been invented in today's science industry. Yet, we really seem to want it.
But perhaps, this type of technology really isn't science fiction at all; at least, not anymore.
A group of researchers from Japan led by Yoichi Ochiai have been playing with laser technology and integrating it with mirrors and lenses to create what they're calling "Fairy Lights" or real-life holograms. These are actual light figures that appear in mid air without the need for a display, and actually take advantage of 3D space.
What's more is these holograms can be programmed to change when they're touched, so in turn, it looks like they're responding to your touch. For example, in the video below, you can see what looks like a completed heart change into a broken heart when touched, and there are also various other hologram examples:
So you might be wondering how exactly the scientists were able to get the lasers to display in the way they have, despite the fact that humans have been playing with lasers for ages hoping for some kind of hologram effect...
As it turns out, these lasers are programmed to fire at very fast succession for short periods of time. The spans of time can be measured in what's called a femtosecond, which is just one quadrillionth of a second. You probably can't even count that fast, as you would need a computer chip to achieve those numbers.
What's even cooler is that the holograms provide somewhat of a haptic feedback effect and are completely safe to the touch for humans.
"Shock waves are generated by plasma when a user touches the plasma voxels," the researchers explain. "Then the user feels an impulse on the finger as if the light has physical substance."
Those who touch the holograms report that they can feel what has the constancy of sandpaper, which is likely just the feeling of static electricity from the particles in the air that are being charged by the lasers creating the plasma effects.
It's clear this type of technology could be made useful in a variety of real-world scenarios, but this proof of concept is still just that, and more testing and research will have to be done to make the concept even better and functional for real world uses. These concepts are incredibly tiny, at what is reported to be approximately eight cubic millimeters, but with more powerful equipment and additional technological advances, these concepts could one day become life-sized.
Imagine a world where a larger scale version of these holograms could be used for augmented reality in places like the medical field, engineering field, and more.
One thing is clear: the researchers behind this project are definitely onto something big.
Source: Discovery News