Technology with attitude

Japanese Experts Have Designed Touchable Holograms

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Scientists from Japan led by Tsukuba University’s Dr. Yoichi Ochiai have designed touchable holograms – 3D virtual objects that can easily be manipulated with the aid of human hands.

The researchers took into account femtosecond laser technology in carrying out this study and in the process they came up with “Fairy Lights” – a program that can be used to fire high frequency laser pulses with the ability to last up to a millionth of a billionth of a second.

The laser pulses can respond to human touch and as such, it is easy to manipulate the hologram pixels when interrupted in mid-air. At the moment, the researchers are still experimenting with the touchable hologram at the Utsunomiya University Center for Optical Research and Education where they have also been provided with a laser from the facility.

According to the lead scientist of the project, Dr. Ochiai, the new technology could be a very helpful addition to the commercial world with the likes of entertainment, architecture as well as medicine industries poised to benefit a lot from it. In addition, he feels that the current state of lighting technology limits humans when it comes to proactively interacting as well as feeling light as matter. In his view, Dr. Ochiai is adamant that the newly created touchable hologram has just come in to take care of this issue.

“You cannot actually feel the videos or images and even though it is possible to project a video, it is not possible to interact with it through touching. So, if we can project a picture in 3D form and be able to touch it, it then means you can make something where you actually think there is something”, said Dr. Ochiai. “If we use a bigger laser, in a larger space, where people can easily interact with it and see how it can be used in scenarios where 3D interaction is needed such as medical or construction fields, people’s daily lives will change”, he added.

This is new technology that has just been created and as a result, it needs more research to be conducted in order to determine how good it can get when used in other fields; for instance, VR and AR industries. We might end up seeing this technology in the video gaming or chatting industry, where one can experience a virtual touch of the person on the other end of the chat.