The Japanese have done it again. Researchers from four different centers (Tokyo, Tsukuba, and Utsunomiya universities, and the Institute of Technology in Nagoya) in Japan have created sparkling holograms you can touch. Just imagine how it would feel to touch light.
To make the holograms, the researchers used a display they called “Fairy Lights.” This display uses lasers to create plasma pixels which float, and are very bright.
These devices – made by companies like Aerial Burton company, located also in Japan – are not that safe for humans to touch. Tests conducted have shown that the temperature of the plasma figures they create is simply too high. Nobody wants to touch a hologram that will burn their fingers, yes?
So what the Japanese scientists did was work their way around this problem. Firstly they knew they had to eliminate the cause of the high temperatures: the high duration pulse created by the nanosecond lasers. Consequently they used femtosecond lasers which emitted pulses that had a duration of only a few femtoseconds. A femtosecond is a millionth part of a billionth of a second. So a million times faster than what had been previously available.
What they discovered after they had completed the devices was even more than they expected. Not only could they touch the plasma of the holograms, but with the touch of human skin, the light became brighter. The applicability of such a feature is very important, researchers say: the effect can be used to indicate the precise moment of the touch, so as to possibly control the touch interaction from within the hologram itself.
There is another currently functional hologram device created by Microsoft, called the HoloLens. Though, as the name suggests, the images made by this one are not really physical particles, they are generated on a computer. These can be interacted with by using heptic gloves, yet there is no actual touching involved.
The system created by the Japanese scientists is still in its early stages. Although one would like to think that we are getting closer and closer to Star Trek, and the holodecks in which the crew members spent their leisure time, we are quite far from that moment.
The researchers say they will continue their experiments in the hopes that one day they will be able to create real, life-like holograms which can be interacted with in HD.
Image source: qzprod.files.wordpress.com