Experts develop moving 3D holograms
Moving holograms that can be viewed without 3D glasses, echoing scenes in Star Wars and Back To The Future, have come a step closer to reality.
Scientists have developed a system that can transmit 3D images in near real-time.
The "telepresence" images appear without the need for special eyewear of the type used in cinemas to watch 3D films such as Avatar.
In future, the technology could lead to holographic webcasts, 3D adverts, and a wealth of telemedicine, engineering and entertainment industry applications.
A classic example of "telepresence" can be seen in the original Star Wars movie when the droid R2D2 projects a holographic image of Princess Leia delivering a call for help.
The film Back To The Future II also depicts advanced telepresence technology, as Michael J. Fox is startled by the 3D image of a shark pouncing on him from an advertising poster.
Professor Nasser Peyghambarian, who leads the US team at the University of Arizona in Tucson, said: "Holographic telepresence means we can record a three-dimensional image in one location and show it in another location, in real time, anywhere in the world."
Up to now it has not been possible to "update" or "refresh" large scale 3D images that can be viewed under normal conditions.
"At the heart of the system is a screen made from a novel photorefractive material capable of refreshing holograms every two seconds, making it the first to achieve a speed that can be described as quasi-real-time," said Dr Pierre-Alexandre Blanche, from the University of Arizona's College of Optical Sciences.
The research is published on Thursday in the journal Nature.