Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) have developed a hologram device with the highest quality images ever produced to date. Lead researcher Lei Wang, from ANU’s Research School of Physics and Engineering, got inspiration from the Star War Movies and stated that the invention “used principles of holography depicted in those movies.” The team published their research in the journal Optica.
Wang’s device, which is small and compact, is made up of millions of tiny silicon pillars that are 500 times thinner than human hair. According to co-researcher Sergey Kruk, the new material is transparent which means it retains most of its light energy and is capable of doing ‘complex manipulations with light’. He went on to say that the team’s ability to structure material at the nanoscale enabled their device to achieve “new optical properties that go beyond the properties of natural materials”.
There are several real-life applications for the device. Wang said the team was currently working on applications like ultra-thin and ultra-light optical devices for cameras and satellites. The device has the advantage of being very portable because of its small size compared to other imaging devices currently in use. This in turn cuts down on transportation costs. The holograms can also be used to assist in medical research and in developing treatments for various diseases. It is already being integrated within the diagnostic and medical devices fields.
RealView Ltd, an Israeli medical device startup, is one such example. They have created the world’s first 3D medical holography display and interface system and their proprietary technology projects very realistic 3D holographic images that float in the air. A medical professional can maneuver them around almost as if they were physical objects. As RealView mention on their website, the image is ‘optically real and within touching reach.’ The machines have many applications and examples include measuring the length of a baby, 3D-CT, 3D-Ultrasound, 3D Rotational Angiography, determining the exact location of a stent etc. In fact any application that can use 3D content would be able to avail of the technology without the limitations imposed by 2D equipments like laptops or x-ray machines.
Holography has similarities to augmented or virtual reality technology, allowing people to engage with their environment in a much more intense way. It would be able to simulate a visual tableau in such a realistic way that people would feel that they were actually in the middle of all the action. Examples would be watching the news, live events, movies, documentaries etc. It could also lead to sending messages in the future that capture the emotion or urgency far more graphically than a phone call or text message ever could.
Wang’s team has traversed another watershed in the development of holographic technology by using groundbreaking materials to produce images of high clarity. It is not difficult to envision a future where engaging in a holographic experience will be difficult to distinguish from a physically real one, rather like the Holodeck in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Source: ANU TV – Youtube