Holochess, as played by R2D2 and Chewbacca in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope could, soon become a reality. We’ve recently seen advances in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality that could, theoretically, see the game being played whilst wearing some sort of headset. Scientists in Utah have gone one further, however, and have developed full-color holograms.
Related:What is Augmented Reality?
Rajesh Menon, the leader of the team of electrical and computer engineers at the University of Utah is very excited about the breakthrough says:
“You can have rich colors at high efficiency, with high brightness and at low cost. And you don’t need fancy lasers and complicated optics,”
The main problem with current hologram technology is its inefficiency. Most of the white light shone onto holograms is absorbed. This causes much of the projection to be lost, with sometimes as little as 5 percent of the projected hologram being all you’ll see.
Menon’s holograms don’t absorb any light, which means they can be much brighter and even in full color. This is in contrast to current holograms on money, for example, that simply look like single color images that shine. As well as currency and credit cards, other potential uses for the new holograms, due to their full colored, 3D and almost photo-like appearance, could be identification badges, driver’s licenses and security documents like passports.
No fancy equipment is needed to activate the holograms and they can be cheaply produced. Once a piece of plastic has been stamped, using Menon’s method, a simple flashlight is all that is needed to activate the hologram.
For now, the team have only created 2D still images using the technology but Menon is confident that that it won’t be too difficult to move onto 3D moving images, like the chess pieces in Star Wars. Why stop there though, he says, when there are many more potential applications for this technology.
“Imagine going through a ride and you want a monster to jump out. This is a way to do that with much richer color, with higher efficiency and in a much more ubiquitous manner because it’s so cheap,”
Photo-realistic 3D monsters jumping out at you in the dark are a little more terrifying than chess but they’ll built on the same technology. Just imagine putting both together. You could buy a 3D holographic chess computer and play against a 3D hologram version of Chewbacca.
Would you let the Wookie win?