3D animations move in empty space

Animated hologram 3D animations move in empty space

Researchers have succeeded in presenting an animated hologram that can roam freely in space. It is generated by two lasers and aerosols.

Company on the subject

Floating holograms: Researchers use two lasers and aerosols to create 3D animations in free space.

(Build: Brigham Young University)

Holograms in free space: Researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU) in the US state of Utah have succeeded in using two lasers to create deceptively realistic animation in the air. Researchers at the Electro-Holography Lab (EHL) are known as screenless volumetric display technology for this purpose.

The special feature of this technique is that a laser moves an aerosol into the room quickly. The second laser illuminates the aerosol. As the aerosol moves at high speed, both the 30 fps camera and the human eye see the illuminated particle as a line in the air.

Still only subtle animations

However, the process has another limitation: Since it is an experimental technique, only such images can be produced that are not larger than the area of ​​the volumetric display. Therefore, currently only subtle animations are possible.

For example, a video shows how researchers created a hologram from two miniature models of Star Trek. In a real-looking battle, two spacecraft fire phasers at each other. Another animation depicts two characters fighting against each other with light blades of two lightsabers, as they are known from Star Wars.

Video: Lasers make a hologram

Researchers are currently working on changing the size of the hologram. This should be made possible by taking the perspective further. Because perspective triggers the illusion that objects are far away.

Project developed beyond 2018

Researchers led by Brigham Young University's Dan Smalle are developing a hologram that can rotate in empty space.
Researchers led by Brigham Young University’s Dan Smalle are developing a hologram that can rotate in empty space.

(Build: Brigham Young University)

Real animations are now possible with laser technology.
Real animations are now possible with laser technology.

(Build: Brigham Young University)

The hologram project now presented is based on a pre-2018 project by Brigham Young University: At that time, a hologram device called an optical trap display (OTD) was developed. This allows smaller 3D holograms to be created. Within the last three years, Dan Smalley’s team has spent time trying to improve hologram technology.

Actual animations are still possible. This means that researchers are one step ahead in creating high-quality holographic animations. For example, like Star Trek or Star Wars.

Displaying complex data in the form of holograms: Technology should be able to be implemented with a type of modular system.

With the new hologram technology, a small bead is transported very quickly by ultrasonic waves.  The ball forms a screen for light projections that can be viewed from different sides.

(ID: 40404)

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