The Holodeck is Real! Scientists Create Laser Holograms You Can Touch

The Holodeck is Real! Scientists Create Laser Holograms You Can Touch

Japanese researchers have created a hologram of a fairy that you can touch and feel, thanks to femtosecond laser technology.

Let's just hope they leave the safety protocols on - researchers have taken another step closer to the reality of Star Trek's Holodeck technology with the invention of a tangible holographic image.

The hologram - a minute blue fairy - is produced by using femtosecond lasers to agitate particles in the air at a particular point in space, while simultaneously creating the desired image. A human feels the agitated particles as if there were a solid presence, though they can still pass through it harmlessly.

Star Trek's holodeck, meanwhile, was a staple of the series from the first episode of The Next Generation. Inside the holodeck, holographic projections could be touched and interacted with like any real object. Safety protocols kept any dangerous holograms, such as tommy guns, in check - except, of course, when they didn't.

Apart from simulating gangster novels for starship captains, the technology could have more immediate, practical uses in the up-and-coming field of holographic interfaces - computer keyboards made of light beamed onto the surface of a person's lap, for example.

As impressive as holographic interfaces can be, humans use touch to confirm the input that their visual and auditory senses provide them. A keyboard made of light may be be a fascinating and portable tool, but the disconnect between using an object and not feeling it can put people off.

More future technology from The Escapist.

Not any longer, say the scientists. With this technology, that keyboard will provide tangible input to the fingers on its keys; you can check a box in mid-air and feel pressure on your fingertip to confirm your selection. Taken further, you can video-chat with a loved one and touch their hand; play a virtual game of solitaire and feel the cards as you deal them out.

Have a look at their video below to see the technology, at its earliest stages, in action:

What is the first thing you would simulate in a real-life holodeck? Somehow I doubt that 1920s crime novels will be at the top of most peoples' lists...

Source: Digital Nature, ScienceWorldReport

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That's pretty awesome but I'm sure we're not going to see anything that uses it in the near future.

Arnoxthe1:
That's pretty awesome but I'm sure we're not going to see anything that uses it in the near future.

I wouldn't be so sure - http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/disruptions-the-holodeck-begins-to-take-shape/. This article suggests we're less than a decade away, and the way other related technologies are coming along - this fairy, Oculus Rift and other VRs - I feel like we'll see this all come together sooner rather than later.

So, we're moving ever closer towards actual hard light technology. Can't help but feel that we really are taking up the Mantle of the Forerunners here... :P

Not too sure I'd want to try out a light bridge though.

No news story is complete without an image of Patrick Stewart wielding a tommy gun :D

As for the tech itself - Very cool. I wonder what pushing through a hologram feels like? Reminds me of the haptic interfaces in the Mass Effect fluff - just without the finger implants needed to simulate touch...

I'm wondering how much power something like this needs to work... Daddy's scared of the cans'ker.

References aside; I wonder what practical applications this can actually be used for.

Ya... they show that tiny tiny thing - and a design concept of a holographic bracelet - but they aren't showing up the rig that actually projects the hologram. A laser rig like that must be massive, plus the power supply and computer setup... I doubt that'll become wearable tech anytime soon

teqrevisited:
I wonder what practical applications this can actually be used for.

Killing the Borg?

This kind of technology looks pretty awesome. It's actually pretty awesome to see some science fiction technologies actually being developed, in an essence.

Arnoxthe1:
That's pretty awesome but I'm sure we're not going to see anything that uses it in the near future.

No, but we will have a Kickstarter for its application in gaming by the end of the year.

teqrevisited:

References aside; I wonder what practical applications this can actually be used for.

My first thought was medical applications. You know how some doctors have used the Kinect in surgery so they can manipulate images without needing to handle things and thus, without needing to scrub up again? Imagine if you could create a display with actual tactile feedback. I imagine that this would very much make applications more viable, as well as more precise.

Of course, your post is sandwiched by two which bring up the very real issues of size, power requirements, and scope, so I wouldn't exactly count on this being the case any time soon.

Very cool, but I have to wonder about long-term harmless. Even a laser pointer is something you're not supposed to shine on skin for long periods of time, and I'm guessing that's a significantly lower-powered beam. I'm certainly not any expert on femtosecond lasers, though; perhaps my concerns are unnecessary.

Forget the holodeck for now, a holographic keyboard you can touch is literally just a few short steps away from something like the Mass Effect omni tool or Tony Stark's hologram tech. To think that this is something we could realistically see in our lifetime wow

image

And suddenly the yugi-oh arm tablets dont seem so silly anymore.

But yeah.. that would be an awesome gameification of that technology

I don't know what the first uses of this technology will be but I can guaranty the second: porn.

image

Oh how I've waited for this day

cjbos81:
I don't know what the first uses of this technology will be but I can guaranty the second: porn.

Jingle Fett:
Snip

Oh, fuck the hell yes. I mean, I'm not heavily into Mass Effect, but the Omnitool is a great thing to work towards. I looove how we're obsessively creating the technology of science fiction.

It's a less than 1 inch hologram for a reason, I doubt we'll see something many times more massive such as that voicechat hand in your example any time soon.
It'll be more like a thing on smartphones to make the touchscreen keyboards on them less awful if it doesn't eat up way too much power for that and less projecting lifesized things.

So how long until the "PC Master Race" has this before console players do?

....

You know because I'm interested in trying out some mods that will be available on Nexus.

loa:
It's a less than 1 inch hologram for a reason, I doubt we'll see something many times more massive such as that voicechat hand in your example any time soon.
It'll be more like a thing on smartphones to make the touchscreen keyboards on them less awful if it doesn't eat up way too much power for that and less projecting lifesized things.

The thing about groundbreaking efforts into doing a think like this is that you can't judge its merits simply on the first initial efforts. They've managed to do a cool thing through hard work and cool science to produce something new in the world, however inefficiently it may be. Now that it's fact, not theory, they can go back and refine it. The various events in life that led up to all the great technological breakthroughs would have them as incredible and useful, but unrefined ideas. And then, over time, they are improved. The internal combustion engine is one such device in history that follows through this. Back then, they were noisy, clunky, inefficient, smelly, and definitely bad for your health. Now, the Stig moves around at 100 MPH easy, in comfort and safety, for our benefit. This technology will improve and be embraced.

Urgh76:
image

Oh God! What's wrong with his face?!

YuGiOh Abridged references aside this is pretty cool. I do wonder though, what does it actually feel like to touch?

FalloutJack:
The thing about groundbreaking efforts into doing a think like this is that you can't judge its merits simply on the first initial efforts. They've managed to do a cool thing through hard work and cool science to produce something new in the world, however inefficiently it may be. Now that it's fact, not theory, they can go back and refine it. The various events in life that led up to all the great technological breakthroughs would have them as incredible and useful, but unrefined ideas. And then, over time, they are improved. The internal combustion engine is one such device in history that follows through this. Back then, they were noisy, clunky, inefficient, smelly, and definitely bad for your health. Now, the Stig moves around at 100 MPH easy, in comfort and safety, for our benefit. This technology will improve and be embraced.

Sure but that still doesn't mean we'll be touching that voicechat hand in our lifetime.

loa:

FalloutJack:
The thing about groundbreaking efforts into doing a think like this is that you can't judge its merits simply on the first initial efforts. They've managed to do a cool thing through hard work and cool science to produce something new in the world, however inefficiently it may be. Now that it's fact, not theory, they can go back and refine it. The various events in life that led up to all the great technological breakthroughs would have them as incredible and useful, but unrefined ideas. And then, over time, they are improved. The internal combustion engine is one such device in history that follows through this. Back then, they were noisy, clunky, inefficient, smelly, and definitely bad for your health. Now, the Stig moves around at 100 MPH easy, in comfort and safety, for our benefit. This technology will improve and be embraced.

Sure but that still doesn't mean we'll be touching that voicechat hand in our lifetime.

Maybe, maybe not. There's no accurate timeline on the development of a technology. In my youth, the Atari was the thing. Look how far we've come.

Why do I have a chilling suspicion that we have found the solution to Fermi paradox?

So how long until we see things with this available to purchase?

cjbos81:
I don't know what the first uses of this technology will be but I can guaranty the second: porn.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

Scalability appears to be a major problem.

 

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