Real-Life Star Wars technology: 3D images floating in the air

Real-Life Star Wars technology: 3D images floating in the air


Although the scene from the first Star Wars
movie is already 40 years old, most of you will certainly know it: A recorded cry for
help from princess Leia is projected into the room as a three-dimensional video by the
droid R2D2. Since then, research teams around the world
have been exploring how to do that in reality. And indeed: There are some early but exciting
successes! Clixoom Science & Fiction; welcome! Don’t forget to subscribe if you don’t
want to miss any of our videos! The technologies that have been developed
so far were only halfway successful: Either the projections in air or on plasma were monochrome
or they had a minimal resolution. But this new try is really amazing: The newly
developed 3D projection is high-resolution, floats freely in the room and can be viewed
from all sides. As Daniel Smalley of the University of Utah
comments, “We also jokingly call it our princess Leia project, we wanted to make the science
fiction 3D displays a reality.” It is not an ordinary hologram, but a volumetric
projection. In contrast to holograms, such volumetric
projections actually have three dimensions, so there is no limit to the viewing angle,
so it is actually possible to move around the volumetric display and look at it from
all angles, unlike a hologram. As a two-dimensional projection, it only creates
a 3D effect – tiny particles manipulated by laser make it possible! “It’s a bit like a 3D printer for light. In a sense, we print an object floating freely
in space with these particles, says Smalley. The particles are only about ten microns in
size and thus form the pixels. An invisible laser beam moves and arranges
them. Once the arrangement fits, the particles are
illuminated with red, blue and green light with the help of RGB lasers, which generate
the visible light. Even a three-dimensional video can be projected
as the laser moves the particles. So far, butterflies, glowing rings and a version
of the famous Star Wars Leia scene have been created. A figure with pleading arms – Leia, here instead
of a princess is in a lab coat. And apart from such gimmicks, the projections
can also be seen in terms of their resolution: 1600 dots per inch. This had not been achieved so far. Another really significant research result
was presented about three years ago. A research team from Japan had developed a
holographic display that makes 3D images float in the air. The special thing here: These images can be
touched without danger! These are created in a different way than
princess Leia’s lab coat: using a laser that emits light pulses. These have a duration in the two-digit femtosecond
range. The light pulses ionized molecules at the
focal point into a plasma. As a result, these air molecules give off
energy – in the form of photons, which means: light. These points of light are then combined into
images. Yet, so far the created pictures are still
quite small; they have a volume of about one cubic centimeter. But because the pulses are so short, they
can be touched easily! The great thing: The display even reacts to
touches. If you touch it with your finger, the display
lights up brighter. You can also feel a small pulse on your finger
as the plasma produces shockwaves. Nevertheless, it’s completely harmless to
the skin, says the research team. In contrast to the retina of the eyes: a protection
here is absolutely necessary.If you’re liked this episode do check out our video on “Energy
Efficiency of the Lightsaber” and click right here. Stay tuned and see you soon!

4 thoughts on “Real-Life Star Wars technology: 3D images floating in the air”

  1. Would be amazing if this would be available for civilians in the future. Amazing Video and a smart man in front of the camera ^^

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