Scientists demonstrate real-time holograms


Holograms have been a part of science fiction for a very long time. Anyone who’s seen Star Wars or watched an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation knows what a hologram is, but a new report from Nature shows that the technology might be closer than we thought. For the first time, actual holographic (three-dimensional) images have been transmitted from one location to another in real-time with a refresh rate of 1-2 seconds. Slow, but it’s a good start.

“We have come up with a new technique for three-dimensional telepresence. Holographic telepresence means we can record a three-dimensional image in one location and show it in another location, in near real-time, anywhere in the world,” Nasser Peyghambarian of the University of Arizona in Tucson told The Independent.

However, unlike fake holographic technology like CNNs election coverage used, this technology can actually recreate a full 3D image to the naked eye. Video conferencing, remote surgery, and television could use the technology some day, imagine scientists. It would be far better than today’s 3D TV, allowing multiple perspectives  of any image.

Most interesting is the telepresence demo. Using 16 regular cameras (you could use more) and a Firewire cable, the team sent data to a computer which compiled the different cameras into a full 3D image. When the image is displayed back, it resembles a real object. “A person sitting in front of an object on a table will see the front, while someone on the other side of the table will see the back, and people sitting on other sides will see different perspectives,” explained Peyghambarian.

It should be noted that the images recreated resemble Virtual Boy games more than real life, but we have to start somewhere.