Touchable holograms: technology that will change the world

Imagine a Skype call where you can actually feel the person you’re talking to, or a fully usable keyboard that is projected onto your lap.

Both notions seem next to impossible, technologies that won’t be seen for scores of years when humanity has entered some far-off age of digital wonders. But in truth, being able to touch projected images is already a reality.

Developed by a team of researchers based in Japan, the touchable hologram technology goes by the name “Fairy Lights” and uses a high-intensity femtosecond laser that is able to elicit a tactile response.

At the moment, the technology is only able to project small-scale touchable holograms, like tiny hearts and other images. The researchers believe, however, that if a larger laser was used in a bigger space, the applications for such touchable holograms would be nearly endless.

And this isn’t a baseless claim. According to the technology’s abstract, the Fairy Lights “size is scalable depending on the optical devices and their setup.” Lasers of varying size and strength have already been successfully tested. Alos, the researchers hypothesize that the hologram projection process could also be used to create touchable images on/in solid or liquid materials.

Anyone worried about potential health risks will also be put at ease knowing that femtosecond lasers produce a plasma that is safer than those produced with nanosecond lasers. Furthermore, the researchers promise that this feature creates a level of safety that will allow Fairy Lights to be commercially produced.

For a far better explanation on how Fairy Lights work and their applications, check out the video below.

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