Last week I visited the London Science Museum and saw ‘Hubble 3d’ in an IMAX cinema. I’m not normally easily won over by new technologies; but the illusion of planes and spaceships jumping out of the screen was incredible! It’s no wonder film and TV companies are clamouring to ditch ‘old-fashioned’ 2D. This year’s CES, an international fair for showcasing new technology, was dominated by companies showing off their new 3D TV’s.
But watching 3D TV and movies would be so much better if you didn’t have to have an unflattering pair of 3D glasses stuck to your face. They’re ugly, uncomfortable, and dim the colours: When I saw Toy Story 3D I even came out of the cinema with eyestrain and a headache! Up until now, glasses have been the only way to watch three dimensions on a flat screen.
3D TV Without the Glasses?
But is there a solution? Sci-Fi fans will remember with relish the scene from the original 1979 Star Wars movie when a holographic recording of Princes Lea appears from the side of the dwarf robot, R2D2:
“Help me Obi Wan Kanobi your my only hope!”
I’m not sure if Luke Skywalker is looking dumbfounded because of the holographic technology or Princess Lea’s good looks!
The future is indeed here (well, almost): A team of scientists in Arizona, USA have just successfully trialled the world’s first real-time holographic movie system. Holographic display systems have been around for a while now, but they normally show only one static image. A couple of years ago the team from Arizona developed a system that could update every couple of minutes. Now they are able to do it much faster and they are able to record and play holographic movies and transmit them over the internet virtually instantly.
So, in a few years time none of us need leave our house to go to work: we could just project ourselves where ever we need to be!
If you want to find out more about how 3D movies work, click here!
Tay, Savaş; Blanche, P.-A.; Voorakaranam, R.; Tunç, A. V.; Lin, W.; Rokutanda, S.; Gu, T.; Flores, D.; Wang, P.; Li, G.; St Hilaire, P.; Thomas, J.; Norwood, R. A.; Yamamoto, M.; Peyghambarian, N. An updatable holographic three-dimensional display. Nature. 2008 Feb 7;451(7179):694-8.