Optical Trap Display image, rastered, single-plane, long-exposure of the earth above a finger tip | Dan Smalley Lab, Brigham Young University

New Technique Generates Free-Floating 3D Images. Just Don't Call It a Hologram.

Engineers at Brigham Young University have produced 3D images entirely out of light.

A glowing image resembling a futuristic hologram floats in mid-air. This is a 3D volumetric display. Using a tiny particle suspended in laser light, researchers have been able to create high resolution, color images that take up real 3D space. Developing this technology could lead to the kind of complex, interactive displays common in science fiction. | Nature
Professor Daniel Smalley (center) with students Erich Nygaard (left) and Wesley Rogers (right) stand behind a laser table in a laboratory where they have developed a new technology called an Optical Trap Display. The project is referred to colloquially as the Princess Leia project because they are trying to create an image from Star Wars. | Nate Edwards/BYU