September 29, 2009

The Nation’s Third Oldest College Newspaper

Volume 80, Issue 3

Wii and the future of holograms

Hologram projection is something that many are familiar with through countless movies that have been produced over the years. This sci-fi technology, however, is no longer too far from our reach.

This year at SIGGRAPH (an annual computer science conference), the Touchable Holography project was introduced by the University of Tokyo.

University Professor Hiroyuki Shinoda worked with a team of five graduate students to produce the first holographic image with the sense of touch. They used two Wii controls (developed by the Microsoft Corporation) as sensors to track hand movements. They developed an airborne ultrasonic tacile, which allowed the ultrasonic waves to be emitted without distorting the holographic image displayed.

People can now interact with projected objects.

The ultrasonic tacile creates a pressure on the users, enabling them to feel around the object that is projected. Shinoda has big plans for the project. He explains In hospitals, there can be contamination between people due to objects that are constantly touched. But, if you can change the switches and such into a virtual switch, then you no longer have to worry about touch contamination. This is one application that is easy to see.

Shinoda and his team of students have posted a series of videos on YouTube showing how different parts of their invention function. So far it has only been tested on smaller objects, but, the growth and development of the project in the near future is enormous.

This technology may help with environmental issues such as saving and recycling paper and could replace the need of producing new interfaces for technology once it becomes out dated. This may be possible since it can be changed without making a new physical product.

The expectations of this technology are high, and perhaps within the near future we may be seeing college students with holographic books around campuses all over the world.

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