Many people have seen holograms of still images. The Arizona group is one of maybe half a dozen around the world that are trying to move that technology into 3-D video, said V. Michael Bove Jr. of the MIT Media Lab.
Bove said several groups, including his own, have in fact produced such videos, achieving the magic rate of 30 frames a second. But those displays are only about the size of a postcard or smaller, he said, and one big challenge is how to make the display bigger.
The Arizona group uses a plastic plate that stores and displays an image until another image is “written” electronically on it.
That approach might someday allow for much bigger images, said Bove, who is collaborating with the Arizona researchers but did not participate in the new study.
Peyghambarian said he now gets an image every two seconds on a 4-by-4-inch device. His team also has a 1-foot-square plate, but that takes longer to replace images.
He would like to scale up to plates about 6 or 8 feet square to show people at full size, so they could appear at meetings without actually having to show up.
His work was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the military.
Bove compared the state of holographic 3-D video research to that of developing television about 80 years ago. Different groups are taking different approaches, and it is not clear which technology will prove best, he said.
In any case, he said, the Arizona system “produces bright, sharp holographic images. … This thing is beautiful.”