Researchers in Japan have created holograms that are affected by human touch.
The touchable holograms, called Fairy Lights, could be the beginning of a line of technology allowing humans to interact with holograms.
This could be particularly useful in medicine, where hologram technology can be used to demonstrate certain procedures.
The holograms were made using femtosecond lasers, a laser that can excite physical matter to emit light in a 3D form, the researchers explained in a paper.
The lasers can produce high-frequency pulses, from 1,000 to 200,000 pulses per second, depending on the type of laser.
The pulses respond to human touch, allowing humans to disrupt them while they’re in the air. Of course, the actual interaction isn’t immediate, but when our “refresh rate” is 200,000 times a second it appears instantaneous to us.
“People’s daily lives would change if we use a bigger laser in a bigger space where people can interact with it, and to see how it can be used in situations where three-dimensional communication is necessary such as at a construction site or in the medical field,” Yoichi Ochiai, one of the lead researchers on the project from Tsukuba University, told Reuters.
“If we can project an image in a three-dimensional form, and if you can touch it, then you can make something where you’ll think that there actually is something there,” Ochiai told Reuters.
Watch the touchable holograms in action: