London: The 3D hologram you saw in ``Star Wars`` may soon become a reality, thanks to a new breakthrough made by researchers at the University of Arizona.
The researchers have developed a holographic system that can transmit a series of 3D images in near-real-time, a precursor to holographic videoconferencing that would eventually let us interact with lifelike images of friends living across the globe.
The system incorporates a novel, photorefractive polymer-one that can rapidly refresh holographic images and is scalable for production-coupled to a unique system for recording and transmitting 3D images of individuals and objects via Ethernet.
Lead author Pierre-Alexandre Blanche and his colleagues from the university and Nitto Denko Technical Corp. of Oceanside, Calif., described the breakthrough in the cover story of the Nov. 4, 2010, issue of Nature.
"This advance brings us a step closer to the ultimate goal of realistic holographic telepresence with high-resolution, full-color, human-size, 3D images that can be sent at video refresh rates from one part of the world to the other," said co-author Nasser Peyghambarian of UA.
The researchers had previously demonstrated a refreshable polymer display system, but it could refresh images only once every four minutes.
The new system can refresh images every two seconds; while not yet ideal for a display, the rate is more than one hundred times faster.
Additionally, using a single-laser system for writing the images onto the photorefractive polymer, the researchers can display visuals in color.
While the current refresh rate for multi-color display is even slower than for monochromatic images, the development suggests a true 3D, multicolor system may be feasible.
The study has been described in the cover story of the Nov. 4, 2010, issue of Nature.