Inspired by iconic laser displays in science fiction movies, such as Star Trek with Star wars, American researchers have figured out how to create real images that move in the air. The result is indeed beyond this world. They use lasers and tiny particles floating in the air to create digital images, which can be viewed without special headphones or smartphones. Even if we look at these three-dimensional images from any angle, we can see that they exist in the space, which means they are physical.
The researchers at the University of Utah, led by Dan Smalley, a professor of electrical engineering at Brigham Young University, use laser beams to capture and illuminate tiny particles in the air. Then they moved the beam and dragged the particles to draw the image in the air.
In a YouTube video of about four minutes, Smalley showed the augmented reality battle between a small version of USS Enterprise using new technology, a US Navy aircraft carrier and Klingon Warbird from “Star Trek.”
Smalley said that most 3D displays require a person to look at the screen, but the technology he and his team members have developed allows them to create images floating in space. “What you see in the scene we created is real; the BYU blog quoted Smalley as saying: “Nothing about them is computer generated. “
Smalley and his team figured out how to draw free-floating space objects without a screen three years ago, which won attention at home and abroad. This technology is called “optical trap display”. The researchers then spent another three years improving their OTD technology to include realistic animations made in thin air.
This research was funded by professional grants from the National Science Foundation and was first published in the journal Natural Science Reports. Smi’s comprehensive work can be accessed on the BYU electronic holographic group website.
Researchers say this development can pave the way for people to provide an immersive experience and interact with virtual objects that coexist in their direct space.