360º 3-D Holographic Displays: We may have seen these in Star Wars, yet did George Lucas or we, the viewers, ever believe this to be achievable? In fact, it has been achieved, yet perhaps not in the form which we quite imagined.
“The ZCamTM is a video camera that can capture depth information (which is used to build the 3D model) along with video and is produced by 3DV Systems. The technology is based on the Time of Flight principle. In this technique, 3D depth data is generated by sending pulses of infra-red light into the scene and detecting the light reflected from the surfaces of objects in the scene. Using the time taken for a light pulse to travel to the target and back, the distance can be calculated and used to build up 3D depth information for all objects in the scene”. This, in theory, means they fire infa-red rays at an object which return to the computer and allows it to judge different distances, causing it to build up a 3D image. This image is then sent to a projector which projects the image onto many panels of glass or Perspex (or something of a similar optical density) which builds up the 3D image:
Of course, that’s quite a lot to take in, so here’s an arguably slightly simpler version of 3D holograms. The other option is being developed mainly in Japan. In 2011, the Japanese produced what we all know a true hologram to be. They can produce 3-D (albeit simple) images in mid-air. They do it by focusing lasers on certain points in the air which causes the ionisation of the gases in the air. Although I won’t labour you with the facts of ionisation I will simply say that the ionisation causes a spark in the air which acts as a pixel. Although the pixels are large and the refresh rate of the pixels (how many flashes per second) is quite low, this is an amazing, if not very dangerous advance in technology: Robotic technology:
As you may well know, robotics covers a wide spectrum from artificial intelligence to actual moving humanoid robots. In the past decade we have produced robots worth millions of pounds. Please don’t misinterpret that as me suggesting that these robots are insignificant, it is in fact quite the opposite, and these robots can recognise objects, climb over objects and even make mistakes and learn from them. Although this prospect is mildly daunting from a Terminator-esque perspective, it is simply astounding and probably one of the most prominent beacons in the advance of human technology.