A group of Japanese scientists have created something out of science fiction, a hologram that can be safely manipulated by human hand.
They have developed this hologram using femtosecond laser technology. Knows as “Fairy Lights”, the system can fire high frequency laser pulses that last one millionth of one billionth of a second. The pulses allow human to disrupt them while they are in the mid-air as they respond to human touch.
The hologram uses a laser provided by the Utsunomiya University and is being experimented with at the university’s Center for Optical Research and Education.
Dr. Yoichi Ochiai of Tsukuba University says that he believes that this technology could be used in entertainment, medicine and architecture. As one of the leading researchers of the experiment, he says that the touchable hologram has the potential to change the current state where light technology doesn’t allow humans to disrupt and feel light as matter.
“You can’t actually feel the videos or pictures, and although you can project a video, you can’t interact with it by touching it. So, if we can project an image in a three dimensional form, and if you can touch it, then you can make something where you’ll think that there actually is something there,” said Ochiai to Reuters.
He added, “People’s daily lives would change if we use a bigger laser in a bigger space where people can interact with it, and to see how it can be used in situations where three dimensional communication is necessary such as a construction site or in the medical field.”
The previous technology which was used to develop touchable holograms has burned skin, but the latest technology with the faster bursts of light didn’t burn leather in experiments, reported by the researchers. And it felt like sandpaper to the touch according to Ochiai.
There are dazzling possibilities to make anything float using the hologram as long as the objects are no more than 8mm wide. Ochiai said, “You can control it from about one meter away.”
Scientists are talking its widespread applications beyond entertainment, medicine and architecture. In future holograms can be used to transport items through the air.
The researchers working with Ochiai in this project are Kota Kumagai, Satoshi Hasegawa, and Yoshio Hayasaki from Utsunomia University, Takayuki Hoshi from the Nagoya Institute of Technology, and Jun Rekimoto from the University of Tokyo.