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Holographic Television Coming Soon

Illustration for article titled Holographic Television Coming Soon

We use high-definition television, dark rooms, and surround sound to create an immersive media experience. But for those who want television that more closely resembles the holodeck, there’s good news. A University of Arizona research team has made a significant breakthrough in 3-D displays that could put holographic sets on the market in five to ten years.A team at the university’s Optical Sciences department, headed by photonics and lasers chair Dr. Nasser Peyghambarian, has created the first rewritable holographic displays that operate from memory:

"This is a prerequisite for any type of moving holographic technology. The way it works presently is not suitable for 3-D images," he said. The researchers produced displays that can be erased and rewritten in a matter of minutes.

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These holographic television would offer multiple types of 3-dimensional viewing experiences:

According to Peyghambarian, they could be constructed as a screen on the wall (like flat panel displays) that shows 3-D images, with all the image writing lasers behind the wall; or it could be like a horizontal panel on a table with holographic writing apparatus underneath. So, if this project is realized, you really could have a football match on your coffee table, or horror-movie villains jumping out of your wall.

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It’s still a long way away from the multisensory experience of the holodeck, but it could mean that next decade’s first person shooters will have you sniping aliens from behind your sofa. Scientist: Holographic television to become reality [CNN via Slashdot]

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DISCUSSION

I don't really see this as supplanting traditional television (though it could be an important step towards full-immersion holodeck stuff that could very well supplant it).

2-D images actually can depict much vaster spaces than 3-D images, as strange as it seems. Since the image only occupies 2 spatial dimensions, the third dimension can be illusionistically represented.

A 2'x3' screen, for instance, represents a 3D space of 2'x3'x[infinitely many]', and can depict, for instance, broad, deep landscapes.

A 2'x3'x3' holographic space, conversely, can only represent a 3D space of 2'x3'x3', and any space inside it would invariably resemble a truncated terrarium (there's a reason why landscapes are typically found in painting, not sculpture).

While the tech will have it's uses (3D Star Wars chess!), I don't see it replacing TV any more than sculpture replaced painting.