Anyone who’s seen the original Star Wars trilogy will remember the scene where the droid R2-D2 projects a hologram of Princess Leia saying ‘Help us, Obi Wan Kenobi… you’re my only hope.’
At the time, 3D holograms visible with the naked eye only belonged to the realm of science fiction.
But not any more. Scientists at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, have found how to create full-colour, pop-up, floating 3D displays that can be seen without glasses.
Study authors Min Gu and Xiangping Li tweaked the refractive index of graphene oxide to create the effect.
As Science Alert reports, ‘Holograms work by bending light off the screen in a carefully controlled way so that, instead of bouncing directly back into your eye, it makes it appear as though it’s projected off a separate display.
‘The Swinburne researchers were able to create the floating 3D display by tweaking the refractive index – the measure of how much light bends as it passes through a medium – of graphene oxide. This allowed them to create tiny, nanoscale pixels that make up floating 3D images, visible to the naked eye.’
So far, the team have only created holograms up to 1cm, but they say that scaling up is easy.
‘It is projected that graphene 3D display at tens of centimetre scale, perfect for the wearable displaying devices, will be available within five years,’ The Conversation reports.