The first holographic display was MIT’s handiwork, and it dates back from 1989. Much science fiction featuring holograms has been written since then, many episodes of Star Trek have been churned out, and it’s almost time for every hologram-fantasizing nerd to be avenged.
University of Arizona researchers managed some time ago to create a hologram capable of refreshing ever four minutes. Now they’ve gotten that time down to two seconds, which is a significant jump which shows just how immature the technology really is.
The main weird-science ingredient in their device is a material named ATPD/CAAN (polyacrylic tetraphenyldiaminobiphenyl/carbaldehyde aniline). It’s not clear exactly how it is used, but it interacts with a series of 2D cameras which take photos of an object, from various angles, every second. A computer mashes the images into data, feeds them through a laser recorder, for some reason, and then they’re send through an Ethernet link to the holographic projector.
The end result is a 4 inch hologram, which, if you consider the holographic universe theory in physics, may be as alive as any of us.