Japanese researchers reported they have developed interactive 3-D holograms that can be felt when they are touched with special plasma technology.
The holograms are the result of a previous project designed to develop holograms that can be projected into the skies to help people know about emergencies and find the escape routes.
But the latest holograms were designed to have purely recreational purposes.
Last fall, a Japanese firm called Burton Inc., who is the first company to develop true 3D Display that can be projected in the mid-air, rolled out a set of holograms that can notify people and rescue crews in case of disasters.
The technology employed an infrared laser that was targeted at a fast moving mirror which diverted the laser beam towards various spots creating the pattern of the hologram. The area targeted by the laser soon became ionized and photons became visible and created the beautiful pattern of a hologram.
This week, a research team at the University of Tsukuba’s Digital Nature Group in Japan published a paper on a new type of holograms. The recently-designed aerial 3-D models are very tiny, but also haptic and interactive. Haptic means that a human user can actually feel them when interacting with them.
The paper was submitted to the Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) and the technology will be presented in Los Angeles late this summer.
The makers dubbed the small-scale holograms “Fairy Lights.” Although the name may seem simplistic, the technology behind is very complex. In order to be rendered scientists use a femtosecond plasma laser. This type of laser is extremely fast and intense when beaming energy protons. “Femtosecond” is a term to name the 1/1,000,000,000,000,000 part of a regular second.
The laser prompts matter to generate “voxels” of light, instead of pixels, which form the beautiful 3-D holograms. Because the laser beams pulses at such a fast rate, it can also create a large amount of plasma voxels generating images at a 4,000 to 200,000 dots per second resolution.
Burton Inc’s holograms were not that complex and had a lot fewer voxels in place. But like in 2-D images the more voxels (pixels) you have, the clearer the hologram (image) is.
And the super-speed of the femtosecond laser has another advantage – the hologram can be touched by humans without the risk of burns. Slower lasers, researchers explained, can produce skin burns.
Additionally, because of the high speeds of plasma pulses shock waves emerge every time a user touches the voxels. As a result, humans can “feel” the light as if it has physical substance.
Image Source: IFL Science