Holographic Images for Consumers: A New Hope

Loraine Lawson

Every since I saw Princess Leia's 3-D image projecting from R2D2, I've longed for the time when we could send and receive holographic messages. And, hey, who hasn't?


Apparently, Princess Leia also inspired MIT researchers, who have been working on holographic projections for decades. They created the first holographic video display in the late 1980s, but the systems were too large and clunky for real-world use.


A couple of years ago, V. Michael Bove, Jr., director of the consumer electronics program at MIT, wondered if it'd be possible to make a consumer-friendly and -affordable model.


And, lo, Bove and his research team are doing just that. More or less.


The holograph is about the size of a Rubik's cube, though plans for the future include a fourth-generation solution that could project an image as large as a computer monitor. Also, the third-generation system shows only monochromatic holograms, though, again, that's expected to change in the next incarnation.


The best news is they think they'll be able to make a system that interfaces with regular computer hardware and gaming consoles. The price? A few hundred dollars.


Obviously, affordable holographic imaging would revolutionize the gaming world. It also would produce better MRI's and other medical imaging. And, perhaps most amazingly, you'd get all of that wrapped up in a package smaller than R2D2.

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