Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) are doing their best to make all of 3D holographic images you remember from Star Wars a reality. Except instead of the somewhat blurry 3D image of Princess Leia delivering a message to Obi-Wan Kenobi via R2-D2’s optics, researchers at ANU have created the highest quality 3D images to date and they have real-life application.

High-Resolution Holograms

Talking about Star Wars and his first encounter with holographic images, lead researcher Lei Wang from ANU’s Research School of Physics and Engineering said in an interview with Futurism, “It’s really cool to be working on an invention that uses the principles of holography depicted in those movies.”

Recently published in Journal Optica, Wang and his team of researchers use “transparent meta-holograms based on silicon metasurfaces that allow high-resolution grayscale images to be encoded.” Explained in another way, “This new material is transparent, which means it loses minimal energy from light,” according to co-researcher Sergey Kruk. “Our ability to structure materials at the nanoscale allows the device to achieve new optical properties that go beyond the properties of natural materials.”

Wang’s Portable Device

Wang’s device is rather small and because of its stature, highly portable – making it practical to use in various real-world environments. Made up of “millions of silicon pillars, which are 500 times thinner than human hair,” the end result is a material that can produce crystal clear hologram images. Whether integrated into futuristic display technology or augmented reality devices, ANU’s invention is suitable across many different sectors. Holographic technology seems to be poised to revolutionize medical research and is already being incorporated into diagnostics.

Image Intimacy 3D Hologram

RealView, Ltd., an Israeli medical device startup created the world’s first 3D medical holography display and interface system. Their proprietary technology projects hyper-realistic 3D holographic images “floating in the air”. With the device’s high-resolution proprietary technology, a user (medical professional) can literally touch the holograms and manipulate them in real-time. As described on RealView’s website, “the interaction with the image is as intuitive as grabbing an apple or painting a statue as the image is optically real and within touching reach.”

RealView’s Image Intimacy 3D hologram system has found its place as a medical device. The floating image allows the medical professional to probe, morph, reposition, adjust, etc. without the limitations of a 2D system like a laptop or x-ray machine. From measuring the length of a baby in their third trimester to determining the exact location of a stent, RealView’s imaging system is complimentary to all available technologies that generate 3D content (3D-CT, 3D Rotational Angiography, 3D-Ultrasound, etc.). Just imagine a Cardiologist having the ability to mark exact locations on a patient’s 3D heart hologram prior to a triple bi-pass surgery.

3D Interactivity

Wang’s team of researchers has created a disruptive device capable of high-quality 3D holographic images using groundbreaking materials. Since it requires no bulky hardware, Wang’s device is capable of hitching a ride on Virgin Galactic’s commercial spaceship – meeting up with researchers at the space station. From holographic technology changing the way we watch the news to assisting scientists with new pharmaceutical trial up in space, being able to generate life-like 3D images allows us to interact with our environments on an entirely new level.