With 3D imaging, the end goal is to realise 3-Dimensional images in real time within a true environment, also known as Volumetric Images.  Primarily, to achieve this we need to be able to create 3-dimensional images in the real world without the use of head-mounted displays (HMDs).

Current technologies such as Magic Leap, Microsofts Hololens and Meta all have one thing in common.  Although each one is ground-breaking in their own way, they all rely on an HMD.  Holographic displays such as these are inherently 2D, as they are using a plane to either project the image or interfere with light fields.

Enter the Princess Leia Project!

A team of scientists at Brigham Young University have been working tirelessly to create a true, working ‘Star War’s style volumetric image.  Currently, the maximum size the team have managed to produce are 3cm wide, there is still a very long way to go to produce these images to a scale where they are commercially viable, not to mention the technical limitations of how to produce this outside of a controlled lab environment.

So far the team has managed to create ‘simple’ images of butterflies and erratic light images.  More complex images such as a team member in a lab coat dressed as Leia and a 1600dpi image of planet earth are composites and can take up to 20 seconds to create on a long exposure all of which are extremely impressive feats.

Video Courtesy of Brigham Young University

This is an exciting step in the right direction to having full volumetric images in the real world and we can only be enthused about where this sort of research will lead!  Maybe the likes of Blade Runner-style advertising are available in the not too distant future.


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