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MATD shows us the interactive holograms


If for many of us already hear about hologram sounds too much science-fiction, find out that they already arrived to a new frontier, ever more advanced, will leave us completely astonished. It is MATD (Multimodal Acoustic Trap Display) the technology that will bring us in the world of the interactive holograms, that besides to be seen they make themselves hear and felt, without the need of any other instrument or viewer.

The birth of MATD

MATD was realized by the University of Sussex and the study was published on the magazine Nature. It really remembers the holograms that we see in the movies of Star Wars. We won’t see, though, any princess to make an appeal, but butterflies that flap their wings, a rotating planet, a countdown, for the moment. But this technology will really allow us to receive three-dimensional video calls, soon or later.

The butterfly of MATD
The hologram of a butterfly with MATD

It isn’t absolutely science-fiction but real science, which almost seems magic. The holograms of the MATD of the University of Sussex, don’t only show themselves in three dimensions, but they emit sounds and songs. Will it be, so, possible really soon to even hear a real vocal call that follows the images?

Like we said the one of the MATD that seems a magic is real science and Ryuji Hirayama, first author of the study, tells us their adventure in the realization. “It takes inspiration from the technology of the old televisions. Our prototype uses a coloured “particle” that moves so fast, everywhere in the three-dimensional space, that the naked eye feels it as an image with volume in the middle of the air”.

How does the MATD work

The MATD when is working creates a field in 3D of ultrasounds thanks to which it’s possible to levitate a really small ball of just few millimeters of diameter. The ball is realized in polyester. Previously a similar system was tried with a ball of cellulose.

The hologram of a butterfly with MATD

The previous study, made by the Birgham Young University said: “the technical uses forces performed by an almost invisble serie of laser rays to trap a single particle, a vegetable fiber of cellulose, and to uniformly heat it. This allows the researchers to push and to bring around the cellulose. A second serie of laser rays projects a visible light (red, green and blue) on the particle, enlightening it, while it moves through the space. The human beings can’t distinguish the images at a too fast speed. So if the particle is moved enough fast, its path appears like a continuos line, like a spark in the dark”.

The ball of polyester works as a brush, by drawning in the middle of the air every object in less then a millisecond, thanks to the LED light beams with which it’s enlightened.

By drawning the object at this speed the human eye doesn’t feel it as something moving, but it only sees the images in its entirety.

Sounds and feelings

The same field of ultrasound is used to produce sound effects, melodies that follow the ball in its movements, by animating even more the image.

Even if inaudible, the ultrasound are mechanical waves that bring energy through the air. The protorype drives and canalizes this energy, which can then stimulate our hears for the sounds, or our skin for the feeling”.

MATD countdown
MATD countdown – the images can be almost touched

Furthermore, the viewer is, infact, able to feel with his own hands the image and interact with it like he can almost touch it. In the experiments, for example, like demonstration of it it was realized the image of a button to push.

The future of the holograms

We are still far away from the holograms that we can see in the best science-fiction movies, however the technology of the MATD brings us a step closer to them. By improving and upgrading this system we will be soon able to produce a real system of three-dimensional visualization. These could be used, firstly, in the way we all think. Which is to multimedial communications, by imagining, even, a social network focused on the holograms. But even in many other fields, like the solid modeling, in an architectural project, in the biomedicine or in the computational production.

This post is also available in: Italiano

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