The scientific and tech community - not to mention Star Wars fans - are taking notice of a new project recently unveiled by Nasser Peyghambarian, an optical scientist at the University of Arizona and leader of a research team: he brought to life the fictional technology depicted in the Star Wars movie of Princess Leia saying "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi." Yes, the hologram.
The holograms rendered by Peyghambarian, however, are not ideal, according to the New York Times. The images are halting in their movements - far slower than a video. They are, however, close to real time, which invites interesting use cases from business meetings to architecture and engineering designs.
This is how it works, the Times describes: the person is filmed in one location and the computer generated images are sent via Ethernet to the destination location, which is equipped with laser beams, where is image is generated. The most obvious uses - or at least those that hold mass appeal - are in the entertainment and games industries, says Lisa Dhar, a senior technology manager at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, via the Times. However the technology will likely need another decade for it to be perfected for such deployments, she said.
Grocery Store Apps
However the ad industry, unsurprisingly given its fascination with any new type of technology, has already started experimenting with holograms. Provision Interactive Technologies just announced it has enhanced the capability of its 3D holographic display platform to be fully interactive with Mobile Mouse, an Apple iPhone application.
Grocery store shoppers, for instance, can interact with a floating 3-D hologram via an enabled Provision 3D display that consumers access via their devices. When they click on the image they can get more information about the product or see it from another view or even receive a coupon. The app uses the built in accelerometer to translate a person's hand motions into mouse movements on the 3D hologram.
Movie Posters Can Embed the Technology
A Canadian firm, RabittHoles Media, which specializes in 3-D holographic posters, is gaining more attention from Hollywood movie producers after one of its designs caught the eye of Apple CEO Steve Jobs and filmmaker James Cameron (via Canwest News Service). The technology embeds up to eight seconds of three dimensional video footage into a poster - an image that can be viewed in 3-D without special glasses.
Interactive Books Are Another Deployment
An interactive retail digital book made its debut at the grand opening of Christian Dior at the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore this past October, according to local fashion site, Chemise.com. The public could virtually flip the pages of the life-sized book with a wave of their hands to view the history of the famous design house. Marketing agency Grain&Pixel, which designed the book, used the interactive, gesture-controlled hologram technology called AirStrike that was developed by LM3 Labs.