“More Realistic than Holograms” -- 3D Projection Technology Prints Objects in Space

Technology > IT

Photo by: Kevin Gill via Flickr


A group of scientists at Brigham Young University in Utah, United States, used almost unseen airborne particles to develop a technique that will allow them to create a fully-colored 3D graphics display that is visible from a different angle and can float in free space.

Scientists said that they found a way to control the nearly unseen specks in the air and use these specks in order to create the 3D images which are clearer and more realistic than holograms. Based on the team’s study that was recently published in the scientific journal Nature, the new technology allowed them to print something in the space and they were also able to delete the print quickly.

Lead author and BYU electrical engineering professor Daniel Smalley shared that they designed a small butterfly and make it appear like it dances above the finger. Then, they also imitated the iconic Star Wars scene with Princess Leia in a hologram-like projection. Only this time, they used the image of a graduate student in the University.

“Our group has a mission to take the 3D displays of science fiction and make them real,” said Smally. He clarified that Princess Leia’s image is not a hologram, which most people think it is, but a 3D image that just floats in the air. He adds that an object that anyone sees from every angle is called the volumetric image. 

Smalley said that for now, the projects they have created are tiny. However, he hopes that their new method can be used someday as a guide in medical procedures or as a record-breaking cinematic technique in the film industry.