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The Force Is Strong With This One: Lab Creates Real Life Hologram

Out of thin air, even!

Grant Hermannsby Grant Hermanns

(Image source: Nature Video YouTube)

The technology for holograms has always been one of fascination for the public going all the way back to the original Star Trek and Star Wars franchises, the idea that a person can watch a full-fledged 3-D video of a person’s message being such an interesting and crazy concept that only the future could figure out how to develop. Well, roughly 50 years after these science-fiction projects introduced these concepts, it seems scientists have finally cracked the code of creating these three-dimensional holograms.

A professor and a group of his students at the Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, have figured out how to manipulate tiny specks nearly unseen in the air and create images more realistic than every attempt we’ve seen at creating holograms thus far.

The study, conducted by Professor Daniel Smalley and posted in the journal Nature, uses a laser light to control the specks in a way in which the light energy changes the air pressure in a way to keep the specks aloft and have the particles beam light back out to create these free-floating images.

The device Smalley and his team uses to create these images is roughly one-and-a-half times the size of a children’s lunchbox, thus creating images that can neatly fit on the tip of an index finger.

Sadly for fans looking forward to sending out Princess Leia-esque messages crying out for help, Smalley says the technology will not be ready for daily usage for years to come, as he and his team seek to improve the images by increasing the amount and size of the beams to enlarge the images being projected. He does, however, have high goals for the future of hologram technology, seeking to make it an effective tool in the medical field, as well as the entertainment field.

Are you looking forward to future hologram technology? What would be the first image you would project if given a device?