Star Wars style lightsabers may soon be a reality as scientists have developed 3D holograms that can actually be touched.
The new laser technology uses lasers that pulse at one quadrillionth of a second and turn air into plasma (ionized air). Scientists who have been leading the research in Japan say that the 3D holograms “feel like sandpaper” to the touch.
According to research this technology may eventually allow us to interact with computers that float in midair, and have holograms that wrap around body parts of real-world objects.
There have been previous attempts to turn lasers into holograms, and while there has been some successes, this femtosecond laser has one key advantage: it wouldn’t sear your skin if you touch it. The Fairy Lights team pulses its laser at a faster rate—meaning less laser radiation exposure for your skin—that creates a perfectly safe hologram. The problem now is that the holograms that the team has has managed to create are tiny—not much larger than the size of a pinhead.
Spectrum IEEE reports that it’s theoretically possible for these displays to scale up, meaning our future displays may soon look like those a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.