Here’s the future for marketing and advertisers. Imagine displaying holographic products that you can not only touch but will react with you. Picture a floating can of Coca-Cola that you could grab and pretend to drink, or a crispy potato chip you could place in your mouth. Read on, I’m telling you. Next level media here, Interactive holograms you can feel!
By now you all should know that holograms are a staple of science fiction and go as far back to 1893, thanks to Jules Verne. Even recently they have come into vogue due to developments in lasers for entertainment and award events. Researchers at DNG or the Digital Nature Group have found a way to use lasers, mirrors and cameras to create three-dimensional, interactive holograms comprised of tiny points of light called voxels. The team using femtosecond lasers (a femtosecond is a quadrillionth of a second, and the lasers transmit bursts that last 30 to 270 femtoseconds), can make holograms that are safe to touch. The DNG researchers say earlier studies in creating air plasma hadn’t achieved resolution this high, and would burn human skin.
The images are three-dimensional, with resolutions up to 200,000 dots per second. The voxels are light emitted by plasma that’s created when the laser’s focused energy ionizes the air. Yoichi Ochiai a principal investigator in the experiments said when he touched the hologram it felt like sandpaper, participants thought the plasma felt a little like a static shock. Ochiai was astounded by how safe the plasma was to touch, considering all the earlier attempts being harmful to skin.
The key to making these holograms safe is the shorter duration of the laser’s bursts. In tests, if the lasers fired in more than two second bursts, they burnt the leather researchers used to simulate skin. But, if they transmitted at 50 milliseconds to 1 second bursts instead, the leather was unscathed.
Now what’s exceptionally cool about this process is that since the lasers fire at such a high speeds, they’re able to react in real-time. They’ve tested its ability by making usable holographic checkboxes and hearts that break when touched. Ochiai now says that his proof of concept must be made bigger so they can make larger holograms. The current laser can transmit up to 7W, and this 1 cubic centimeter experiment only used 1W of the laser’s power.
Holographic images you can touch and manipulate; is this not thrilling. Sooner than you know advertising is going straight into the future.