Sci-Fi SciFi to Science: Floating 3d Images, Not Holograms

Tom

An Old Friend
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Dec 6, 2004
Location
Gulf Coast
Better than a hologram: Research produces 3-D images floating in 'thin air': Nature study outlines method to make the images of science fiction
Nature study outlines method to make the images of science fiction
Date:
January 24, 2018
Source:
Brigham Young University
Summary:
In the original Star Wars film, R2D2 projects an image of Princess Leia in distress. The iconic scene includes the line still famous 40 years later: 'Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope.' Electrical and computer engineering professor and holography experts have long had a goal to create the same type of 3-D image projection. Now, researchers detail a newly developed method to do so.

In a paper published this week in Nature, Smalley details the method he has developed to do so.

"We refer to this colloquially as the Princess Leia project," Smalley said. "Our group has a mission to take the 3D displays of science fiction and make them real. We have created a display that can do that."

A 3D image that floats in air, that you can walk all around and see from every angle, is actually called a volumetric image. Examples of volumetric images include the 3D displays Tony Stark interacts with in Ironman or the massive image-projecting table in Avatar.

A holographic display scatters light only at a 2D surface. If you aren't looking at that surface you won't see the 3D image because you must be looking at the scattering surface to see the image. A volumetric display has little scattering surfaces scattered throughout a 3D space -- the same space occupied by the 3D image -- so if you are looking at the image you're are also looking at the scatters. For this reason, a volumetric image can be seen from any angle.

"devised a free -space volumetric display platform, based on photophoretic optical trapping, that produces full-color, aerial volumetric images with 10-micron image points by persistence of vision."

"This display is like a 3D printer for light," Smalley said. "You're actually printing an object in space with these little particles."

While previous researchers outside of BYU have done related work to create volumetric imagery, the Smalley team is the first to use optical trapping and color effectively. Their method of trapping particles and illuminating it with colorful lasers you can see is novel.

So far Smalley and his student researchers have 3D light printed a butterfly, a prism, the stretch-Y BYU logo, rings that wrap around an arm and an individual in a lab coat crouched in a position similar to Princess Leia as she begins her projected message.

I find this bit of news extremely interesting. As this technology gets refined and exploited there are limitless uses for this technology. Imagine using hand gestures inside a volumetric image to work with computers. Imagine phone displays that are 3d projected from your wrist.
It also could have extensive use in remote medicine & surgeries.

A capture program could scan anything into a cloud database. Communications could then access that database and your device could display it for you in 3d.
There isn't anything in the article telling where/how they got the image source. I imagine it is written code because it is still in experimental stages.
I imagine if a scanner is developed it would require a spherical capture of the source? Otherwise, the projected image would have holes/blank spots.

But...The implications of this scifi to science technology is full of so much potential it is exciting.
It puts the WOW of scifi right in our grasp.

To expound on this break-thru...
Can you name and movies or shows that depict 3d (holographic) volumetric images?

The article gives us
Star Wars (R2D2's message) I can add the battle chess scene.
Iron Man interface Tony Stark uses
Avatar Projection Table

I would like to add the multiple uses of 3d advertisements used in many scifi movies including
The 5th Element
Blade Runner
Branded
etc...

Then there are the interface control panels
Like in Ender's Game

How many examples can you recall?
 

Tom

An Old Friend
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Location
Gulf Coast
I'm sure the technology is still too primitive but our future may be watching movies in actual 3d immersion. The aspect of it makes me think of gaming.
Imagine playing a game from within the game?

Games might become immersive places you go instead of playing at home.
Imagine going to a lazer tag arena but instead of lazer tag it is Call of Duty and you and your buddies go into the game.

Its certainly far-fetched but with this technology it could actually be possible, eventually.

With the right technology you might even be able to send any image to anyone in lifesize 3d.
Instead of a rec room you have an imaging room.
 

Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Pennsylvania
A 3D image that floats in air, that you can walk all around and see from every angle, is actually called a volumetric image. Examples of volumetric images include the 3D displays Tony Stark interacts with in Ironman or the massive image-projecting table in Avatar.
I read those articles when they hit the net and it was pretty fascinating reading up on the tech behind it. It sounds like the next hurdle for the technology is to ramp up the projections to larger sizes.
Instead of a rec room you have an imaging room.
A "Holodeck" even. :D
 

Tom

An Old Friend
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Location
Gulf Coast
Rewatching the new Blade Runner I looked at the projections featured in the film. While some were obvious projections there are some that mimic this type of technology.

A "Holodeck" even.
Well, Star Trek's Holodeck was a bit more complicated. It used replicator technology to give substance to the images. (one could sit on a chair, balance on a rock in a stream, walk the plank.)
This real technology will still only be light.

However, it could be the infant science that leads to a holodeck type interface. With the right program and enough processing power the images could interact with the other images.
You could hold a pool cue virtually and your movement might cause the image of the cue to react with the cue ball causing it to collide with the other balls. You could hold a virtual gun and your movement could fire the gun sending a virtual bullet into your virtual opponent.
The syncronization already exists in primitive form with the Wii.

I always wondered about the Holodeck in Star Trek. With moving scapes, the replicator matrix would have to constantly morph into a mist to give a seemless experience. How did the participants avoid inhaling the particles as they walked? Perhaps it was a transporter sequence written into the Holodeck programming that the computer automatically adjusted. Just think of the processor requirements! Even playing catch in a voided holodeck with a virtual ball would require processor power and speed that dwarfs our current abilities.
 
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