Three-dimensional images that we can see from all directions are the next step up from holograms. To move us toward that goal, researchers from Brigham Young University have developed a new method to create such a 3D display.
The approach is called a free-space volumetric display and uses a technique called optical trapping. As reported in Nature, the team trapped and manipulated little specks of dust in the air to create 3D images.
The new method is different from a hologram. A hologram is the apparent projection of a 3D image on a 2D surface – so if you’re not looking at the surface, you wouldn’t see it. A 3D display is seen from every direction. The most famous pop-culture example of this is obviously Princess Leia’s message to Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars.
The researchers used a laser beam to trap a particle, which creates an image point. By steering the laser beam around, it is possible to move the particle and thus create an image. The method allowed them to create full-color visualizations made of 10-micron (one-tenth of standard copy paper) image points.
Watch the video below for more details: