Scientists, and society at large, have been waiting for holograms technology to appear on the market for decades, and while you’ll still have to wait before you can buy one in the shops we’re starting to edge closer to realising the dream.


Science fiction movies, like Avatar, Iron Man, Prometheus and, most famously Star Wars, almost always include 3D holograms that you can see from any angle, but so far, in today’s world, the reality, other than a breakthrough last year that created floating 3D plasma holograms you could touch using femtolasers has been much less exciting. Until now that it is.


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Here’s the thing though… do you remember the Princess Leia hologram from Star Wars? Of course you do, well, apparently, according to scientists, it’s not a hologram at all, it’s something called a Volumetric Image, but all that aside now a team of researchers from Brigham Young University (BYU) in the USA have managed to recreate the hologram, er, volumetric image and the results, that you can see below in the video, are staggering.


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“We can think about this image like a 3D printed object,” said BYU assistant prof and lead author Daniel Smalley.


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The team used something called an “Optical Trap Display” to create their volumetric images. The difficulty with holograms so far is that you need something to reflect the laser light so your eyes can see it. BYU’s device uses lasers to trap a tiny particle in free space, or as we call it, the air, that can force it to move in a path, much like how electromagnets deflect the electron beam in a CRT television, then other blue, red and green lasers illuminate it. And if the particle moves fast enough, it creates the illusion of a solid, animated holographic image. Heck, let’s just call it a hologram, after all that’s what it is… even if that isn’t the right scientific term for it.

“A single point was dragged sequentially through all these image points, and as it did, it scattered light,” said Smalley, “and the accumulated effect of all that scattering and moving was to create this 3D image in space that is visible from all angles.”

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.


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