Lasers trace a new way to create hovering hologram-like images | Science News

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Lasers trace a new way to create hovering hologram-like images

Unlike 3-D images of old, these high-res pictures are visible from almost any direction

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2:30pm, January 24, 2018
3-D laser image

SCI-FI GRAPHICS GET REAL  A new laser system renders 3-D images in thin air, and could pave the way for futuristic displays akin to the iconic Princess Leia scene in Star Wars. Here, the system displays a researcher imitating the scene.

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The 3-D displays seen in such sci-fi movies as Star Wars may not be so far, far away.

A new laser system renders full-color 3-D images in thin air, researchers report in the Jan. 25 Nature. This technology could someday make futuristic, free-floating visuals for everything from air traffic control to surgical planning.

With this new technology, “you really can, in principle, achieve what everyone hopes to achieve, which is the image of Princess Leia in that scene in Star Wars,” says Curtis Broadbent, a physicist at the University of Rochester in New York who was not involved in the work.

Whereas holograms are images on flat surfaces that only appear three-dimensional because of how the light bounces off the material, the newly created images

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