Alongside flying cars, moon bases, extraterrestrial alliances, and laser guns there has been a component to modern technology that many consider necessary before we truly move into the futuristic sci-fi world we all grew up dreaming about. And now that technology – three dimensional video holograms has a new potential outlet. The system that has been developed allows three dimensional images to appear from any angle in a vessel utilizing a special heat sensitive plastic and (of course) lasers.
Nasser Peyghambarian of the University of Tucson alongside collaborators with the Nitto Denko Technical Corporation has developed the system not a moment too soon for those eager for an ever more futuristic 2011. The system utilizes lasers to make points in a special heat reactive plastic to create three dimensional images.
Lasers and holograms go hand in hand with special plastics both in our fantastic visions of the future. And so it’s appropriate perhaps that the special heat sensitive plastic be included in our vision of this fast approaching futuristic world. You may remember that on CNN’s election night a “hologram” was used to give viewers the impression that one reporter actually a thousand miles away was being transmitted into the studio right in front of anchor Wolf Blitzer. Unfortunately this wasn’t actually a series of high tech beams moving the reporter’s image into the shot, but rather a calibration of the camera systems to a three dimensional live video feed creating the illusion of a 3D hologram for the viewers. Of course the illusion did create quite an understandable stir.
But now with the technology finally developed that allows this sort of communication, what applications will it be used for at this early stage? And what else can we expect in the years to come as far as this device coming into the public market? It’s clear there are potential applications for three dimensional imaging in education, but it seems the most promising angle the system will be used in is teleconferencing. With the monochromatic system we’re still a long way from a fully three dimensional entertainment system, making the future of truly 3D movie theaters still a ways off. But with the true 3D systems no longer requiring a flat screen or any special viewing equipment, it is possible that fully 3D holographic films could one day be developed and broadcast.
A theater in 3D would likely be centered around a kiosk or area in the center of an auditorium with the audience sitting all around it in order to fully be able to appreciate the viewing experience.
But the real potential is in a 3D teleconferencing experience and gaming. Such systems could use the teleconference potential to allow viewers to no longer be bound by two dimensional planes and fully integrated into 3D columns or on tables designed for board games and videogames to be fully integrated into one another.
One of the greatest challenges in making a 3D holographic communications system mobile would be in the capturing of 3D images, but perhaps a new special camera or image interpretation system will one day be developed to better capture these as well.