New hologram technology brings 3-D to life


Refractable holographic image of an F-4 Phantom Jet created on a photorefractive polymer at the College of Optics, University of Arizona, USA. Nasser Peyghambarian with a refreshable, holographic image of an F-4 Phantom Jet his team created on a photorefractive polymer at the College of Optical Sciences, the University of Arizona.
Holograms in 3-D no longer just science fiction

R2-D2 would be impressed.
Thirty-three years after he helped Princess Leia make an impassioned plea from afar in Star Wars, scientists are making 3-D telepresence a reality.
"It is no longer something that is science fiction, it is actually something that you can do today," says Nasser Peyghambarian, leader of a U.S. team that is busy sending 3-D moving holograms of Phantom jets and people from one location to another.
"We have demonstrated the concept and it works," says Peyghambarian, whose optical science team at the University of Arizona describes the new system in the journal Nature, released Thursday.
He and his colleagues say it is not quite ready for prime time. The "holographic telepresence" is limited to images 43 centimetres high, which is about how big Princess Leia's telepresence was in the Star Wars scene. Colour is also limited and the holograms' movements are halting as it takes two seconds for them to "refresh."
But Peyghambarian expects that within a few years life-size, full-colour, high-resolution holographs of people and objects will be popping out of tables and walls in research labs. And within seven to 10 years, he predicts they could be popping out of conferencing, medical, design and entertainment systems.
The people and objects will look real, Peyghambarian says, but if you try to reach out and touch them, there would be "nothing there."
Several companies are racing to produce 3-D television and conferencing systems so people can attend virtual meetings, reducing the need for travel and time away from home.
But Peyghambarian says most systems use just two perspectives, while the holographic telepresence has 16 and does not require 3-D glasses. His team is aiming for hundreds of perspectives showing objects and people from all angles, which is much closer to what the eye sees in the real world.
"I don't think there is any fundamental physics that would prevent us from getting there," he told reporters in a webcast last week.
At the heart of the new system is a multicolour, holographic display that refreshes every two seconds and gives the effect of quasi-real-time updating, using a new "photorefractive polymer" as the recording material. The images are taken by regular cameras at multiple angles in one location and sent to another location using Ethernet communication and then projected with the help of lasers on the computerized hologram setup.
The prototype described in the Nature paper had a 25-centimetre screen, but Peyghambarian says they now have a 43-centimetre system up and running. It uses 16 cameras to photograph objects from different angles. The more cameras used, the higher the resolution of the holograph, says Peyghambarian, who says an array of cameras in his Tucson office and a fast Internet connection would enable him to give a tele-presentation in New York.
"At the other end, in New York, there would be the 3-D display using our laser system," he says. "Everything is fully automated and controlled by computer."
The system has what the scientists call 'full parallax': "As you move your head left and right or up and down, you see different perspectives. This makes for a very lifelike image," says Peyghambarian. "Humans are used to seeing things in 3-D."
There is also an audio option so lifelike, holograms could speak and interact with audiences.
The researchers have patents pending on both the material and optical system and are particularly keen on the possibilities for telemedicine.
"Especially for brain surgery, surgeons at different locations around the world can observe in 3-D, in real time, and participate in the surgical procedure," they conclude in their paper.
Lead author Pierre-Alexandre Blanche says another early application might be in the "military for command and control 3-D battle maps" and holographic advertising.
"The next step will be to have a smaller, faster display to interest the entertainment market," he says, noting that there is "still some hard work" to do before that happens.

New hologram technology brings 3-D to life

Executives may not be able to beam a full three-dimensional image of themselves across the world just yet but researchers are a step closer to 3-D real-time images, an advance in holographic technology that could make video conferencing far more lifelike.
Nasser Peyghambarian of the University of Arizona and colleagues said on Wednesday their new holographic technology can project a near 360-degree image to another location that updates every two seconds.
Known as three-dimensional telepresence, the technology addresses shortcomings of current holograms, which give the illusion of 3-D but leave out the rear view, said Peyghambarian, whose study appears in the journal Nature.
"If you look at the 3-D object, we show it is very much like if you look around you. It's the closest to what you see compared to any other technology," Peyghambarian, who also holds a position at the National Science Foundation, said on a telephone briefing.
He said the earliest use of the technology could be in movies, given the popularity of 3-D films such as "Avatar."
"We foresee many applications, including for example, car or airplane manufacturing. They can look at the hologram and design the system they have in real-time and look at the model and make changes on it as they go," Peyghambarian told the briefing.
Surgeons around the world also could participate in complex operations at the same time, he said.
To create the hologram, cameras take color images at multiple angles and send them over an Ethernet line. In the lab model, images are projected onto a transparent plastic panel and refreshed every few seconds.
Future displays will lie flat on a table and the system will create an optical illusion that the image is floating above the screen.
The three-dimensional telepresence technology differs from 3-D technology in several ways.
With 3-D, one perspective is projected to one eye and another perspective is projected to the other, which is why people wear special glasses. With the hologram, no special glasses are needed and the number of perspectives is only limited by the number of cameras used.
In a videoconference, this means people sitting on one side of a table see the front of a person, people on the side would get a side view and people in the back would see their back.
The technology builds on earlier work by the same group, which in 2008 reported a black and white 3-D image that could be updated every four minutes.
The new system is more than 100 times faster.
"This breakthrough opens new opportunities for optics as a means to transport images in real time," Lynn Preston, director of the National Science Foundation's Engineering Research Centers program, said in a statement.
Peyghambarian said the team still needs to work out some issues, including improving the screen and reducing the system's power demands, which will take about two years.
It will be far longer before the system can be used by ordinary consumers.
"I don't think you can see these in our houses in less than seven to 10 years," he said.

7yr old Arya Ika, youngest member of Obama's crew

U.S.President Barack Obama's business team not only consists of 500 delegates but also a seven year old kid, a student from Southborough, Massachussets. Arya Ika , who is studying in second grade is accompanying Obama on his trip to India to bring some best deals for his family owned innovative health technology firm reports Pradeep Thakur of Times Of India.
7yr old Arya Ika, youngest member of Obama's crew
Born to an Indian-American couple, the Harry potter lookalike comes from Fay school which by coincidence is the same school to which U.S. President John.F.Kennedy also went to. The institution has granted special leave to the lad so that he could be a part of this historic trip, where both India and the U.S. signed several agreements, including breaking the decades old economic and technological barrier that was imposed on India after its two nuclear tests.

Dressed in formals Ika was seen networking with other Indian and American delegates in between sessions and became the star attraction as everyone was curious to know what got the little fellow to the serious business sessions of Obama. "I want to meet Obama, and become the future President of the U.S." said Ika while explaining the reasons behind his India trip, where he could pick up his first lessons in public administration.

Ika comes from a family which migrated from Hyderabad to Massachuessets 30 years ago and set up their innovative health care system firm, which now employs more than 350 Americans. The Ika System provides innovative health technology to insurance firms helping them bring quality care to patients at lower costs. The company's gross turnover is around $500 million.