Researchers might have come up with a new solution to the creation of 3D images. Forget glasses and holograms, the future could be lasers, liquids, and bubbles.
In a paper, published in Optica, researchers from the Utsunomiya University in Japan have developed a way to create volumetric pixels or voxels, producing 3D images that can be seen from every angle without the need for glasses.
They obtained this breakthrough by shooting incredibly fast laser pulses at a liquid display, forming microscopic bubbles that can be colored using lights. In doing so, they were able to create many static images.
“Creating a full-color updatable volumetric display is challenging because many three-dimensional pixels, or voxels, with different colors have to be formed to make volumetric graphics,” said lead author Kota Kumagai in a statement. “In our display, the microbubble voxels are three-dimensionally generated in a liquid using focused femtosecond laser pulses. The bubble graphics can be colored by changing the color of the illumination light.”
The “screen” is made of a high-viscosity liquid that made the bubbles stay in place and not rise too quickly. The new work is a proof of concept, but the researchers think that the technology is perfectly viable, although still too bulky for commercial use.
“The volumetric bubble display is most suited for public facilities such as a museum or an aquarium because, currently, the system setup is big and expensive,” continued Kumagai. “However, in the future, we hope to improve the size and cost of the laser source and optical devices to create a smaller system that might be affordable for personal use.”
The researchers are not only working to miniaturize, but also to go from static images to dynamic ones. They are planning to introduce streams in the liquid to clear the screen or burst of the bubbles. Also, they would like to be able to create larger images.
Maybe we should hold on to the 3D glasses, at least for now.