Thursday, 31 January 2013

Amazing Technology You Never Thought Could Exist, But Now Does…

by Hugh Summers

 360º 3-D Holographic Displays: We may have seen these in Star Wars, yet did George Lucas or we, the viewers, ever believe this to be achievable? In fact, it has been achieved, yet perhaps not in the form which we quite imagined.
“The ZCamTM is a video camera that can capture depth information (which is used to build the 3D model) along with video and is produced by 3DV Systems. The technology is based on the Time of Flight principle. In this technique, 3D depth data is generated by sending pulses of infra-red light into the scene and detecting the light reflected from the surfaces of objects in the scene. Using the time taken for a light pulse to travel to the target and back, the distance can be calculated and used to build up 3D depth information for all objects in the scene”. This, in theory, means they fire infa-red rays at an object which return to the computer and allows it to judge different distances, causing it to build up a 3D image. This image is then sent to a projector which projects the image onto many panels of glass or Perspex (or something of a similar optical density) which builds up the 3D image:

Of course, that’s quite a lot to take in, so here’s an arguably slightly simpler version of 3D holograms. The other option is being developed mainly in Japan. In 2011, the Japanese produced what we all know a true hologram to be. They can produce 3-D (albeit simple) images in mid-air. They do it by focusing lasers on certain points in the air which causes the ionisation of the gases in the air. Although I won’t labour you with the facts of ionisation I will simply say that the ionisation causes a spark in the air which acts as a pixel. Although the pixels are large and the refresh rate of the pixels (how many flashes per second) is quite low, this is an amazing, if not very dangerous advance in technology: Robotic technology:

As you may well know, robotics covers a wide spectrum from artificial intelligence to actual moving humanoid robots. In the past decade we have produced robots worth millions of pounds. Please don’t misinterpret that as me suggesting that these robots are insignificant, it is in fact quite the opposite, and these robots can recognise objects, climb over objects and even make mistakes and learn from them. Although this prospect is mildly daunting from a Terminator-esque perspective, it is simply astounding and probably one of the most prominent beacons in the advance of human technology.
Yet I am concentrating mostly on A.I (artificial intelligence). As many people know, one of the most impressive A.I’s to date is Siri. Siri has almost impeccable voice recognition technology, as far as I have observed and is widely used today (although Microsoft word doesn’t seem to recognise Siri as an existing word; evidently Bill Gates is still trying to demote Apple to this very day). Yet perhaps this is the only reason we are so astounded: the fact of its availability.
This is why I find CES so interesting. CES (Consumer Electronics Show) has consistently amazed the world in what it showcases. This year, the new 4K television was released (almost four times as detailed as 1080p HD T.Vs). Anyway, I digress; what really amazed me at CES was the Audi car which can park itself! Although this technology may not seem amazingly impressive, it leaves a higher impression of awe than the title suggests. You simply get out of your car, hit a button on you smart phone, and watch the car drive off to park itself. Then when you have finished whatever endeavour you set out to complete, you simply walk up to front of the car park and, again, press a button on your smart phone which calls it back to you. Although it is probably far more interesting than what I have explained it to be. I hope you have enjoyed reading the article. Also, here is the video presentation of the car at CES 2013:


  1. The laser tech images are really clever, but they could try to make the images more sophisticated and add colour. One more thing; ahs the audi CES ever crashed whilst parking itself?
    Jamie Bradshaw

  2. thatis the coolest thing ever

  3. Scary... I wonder what the next step is.

  4. This looks perfect. All these details are made with a lot of background knowledge about. I just love it. Holography is "lensless photography" in which an image is captured not as an image focused on film, but as an interference pattern on the film. Typically, coherent light from a laser is reflected from an object and combined at the film with light from a reference beam. I also have seen this type of holographic display in Olomagic.


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