Holographic videoconferencing has been achieved using a new large size material that can be repeatedly written to and erased.
The University of Arizona researchers developed a new polymer-based material that encodes information using electric fields. The material contains two components. When light strikes the film, one of these components, a polymer, absorbs photons and generates electrons and their positive counterparts, called holes. The polymer is also a good conductor of holes, but not of electrons. As a result, the holes can easily move away from the illuminated areas where they were generated, whereas the electrons stay put. This separation of charges creates patterns of tiny electric fields within the material. These electric fields change the way that light moves through the different parts of the film.
The second component of the material, a dye, responds to the electric fields in two ways. The dye molecules change their polarization and physically rotate depending on the nature of the fields in each part of the film. These changes locally affect the index of refraction, which has to do with how a material bends and reflects light. When the researchers shine a laser through the film, the dye alters the path of the light, projecting a pattern that the eye interprets as a three-dimensional image. "It comes out of thin air--you feel like you could touch it," says Nasser Peyghambarian, a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Arizona, who led the work.
To erase the image, the researchers expose the film to uniform light, which redistributes the electrons and holes, removing the electric fields and the changes in the material that they had produced.
Jan Tor, Captain of Interplanetary Patrol Cruiser 79388 in Edmond Hamilton's 1928 novel Crashing Suns, had holographic videoconferencing (he called it a telestereo):
Abruptly I was aroused from my musings by the sharp ringing of a bell at my elbow. "The telestereo," I said to Hal Kur. "Take the controls."
As he did so I stepped over to the telestereo's glass disk, inset in the room's floor, and touched a switch beside it. Instantly there appeared standing upon the disk, the image of a man in the blue and white robe of the Supreme Council, a lifesize and moving and stereoscopically perfect image, flashed across the void of space to my apparatus by means of etheric vibrations. Through the medium of that projected image the man himself could see and hear me as well as I could see and hear him, and at once he spoke directly to me.
Via Technology Review; thanks to Fortigurn for writing in with the tip on this story.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/7/2010)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...' - William Gibson, 1986.
'Princess Leia Project' Images That Float In The Air
Help me, Daniel Smalley; you're our only hope.
LG Rollable Version Of Niven's Poster TV
'A television that unrolled like a poster.' - Larry Niven, 1976.
Foldable Galaxy Phones, I Swear They're Coming (Maybe)
Apparently, it is very hard to do. We've been patient, though.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?
Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?'
Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.'
Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.
Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
'They're lovely! - titanalloy struts as light and strong as bird-bones...'
Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.
Arizona Luddites Attack Self-Driving Vehicles
'Trucks don't drive by themselves...' Or do they?
Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...'
WINE Spacecraft To Extract Water From Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'
Japanese Swordsmiths Take On Asteroids
'... a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk.'
Saturn's Rings To Vanish, Let's Mine Them While We Can
'...the valuable shards of what had once been satellites.'
Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
We'd have a lot more room for gardening...
Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...'
GMO Houseplant Cleans Your Air
Removes compounds too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.
Nova Meat Can 3D Print Your Dinner
Printing out chicken nuggets.
MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories