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 -
A New Way To Run Into Things
'He made an adjustment, pointed the tube at the wall beside Etzwane, and projected a cone of light.' - Jack Vance, 1971.
Unfurl The Future! Huawei Mate X versus Galaxy Fold
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently from the top of the unit and immediately grew rigid.' - William Gibson, 1986.
North Focals Smart Glasses Provide Augmented Reality In Style
'The world ... is drenched in unfamiliar information all the way to the horizon.' - Charles Stross, 2007.
Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...' - William Gibson, 1986.
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.
Via Virtual Reality, Mother Encounters Deceased Daughter
'But that barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'
Clothes That Do Photosynthesis
'Clothes are no longer made from dead fibers of fixed color and texture...'
Stratuscent Electronic Nose
'It's picking up diphenyl compounds and tetra hydrocarbons.'
CIMON Companion Robot For Space Station Astronauts
'... in some departments their power is absolute.'
Qbit Robot Bartender Also Makes Coffee
'...he sipped the cognac that the robot bartender handed him.'
Moving Desks Not SciFi After All
'Charged with hope, he zipped from stack to stack...'
Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).
Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'
Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'
Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'
Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'
The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'
Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'
Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'
Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'
Airbnb Has AI Psychiatrist Looking At Your Facebook
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories