So far, holograms have posed an interesting appeal to the masses: they’ve made significant appearances in futuristic movies, and even shown up at festivals in the place of late beloved musicians to allow fans to live out some of their lost dreams. But now, they’re being developed to do something not many people imagined for them yet…
Closing the distance between two people. Not just visually – audibly and physically, as well.
With this latest hologram development, the feeling that a hologram is in the room beside you feels more than just virtual – it’s palpable. The reseearchers behind this at the University of Sussex were inspired by another model recently engineered at Brigham Young University, who made small particles levitate with controlled movements in air, carried by invisible lasers and lit up with RGB lights as it zipped around.
However, the Sussex engineers use ultrasonic transducers which generate soundwaves that can levitate and control a lightweight polystyrene bead (just two millimeters in size). Moving at up to 20 miles per hour, these beads trace out a shape as large as 10 centimeters across in a fraction of a second – faster than the naked (human) eye can see. Since they’re being drawn in 3D, these holograms can be viewed from any angle without the appearance or effect changing.
On top of that, the transducers can vibrate to create soundwaves, particularly akin to human vocal chords.
And there’s more.
By the same principle, the researchers say that the frequencies of used to create these soundwaves can also be felt as a tangible sensation – comparing it to the flapping of butterfly wings. Though it’s a minor sensation, its intent is to allow one person to virtually be seen, heard, and felt by another, no matter how lightly – even from across the world.
It isn’t Star Trek just yet, but it definitely beats the heaviness of virtual reality goggles!