Researchers have made a major step toward a holographic videoconferencing system that would let people communicate with one another almost as if they were in the same room. They have developed a full-color, 3-D display that refreshes every two seconds, and they've used it to send live images of a researcher in California to collaborators in Arizona. In the coming years, the researchers hope to develop a system that refreshes at standard video rates and can compete with other 3-D displays.
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"Holography makes for the best 3-D displays because it's closest to how we see our surroundings," says Nasser Peyghambarian, chair of photonics and lasers at the University of Arizona. A hologram is a display that uses an optical effect called diffraction to produce the light that would have come from an object in the image if the physical object were in front of the viewer. Holographic images appear to project out into the space in front of the display. By walking around a holographic image, it's possible to see objects in it from different angles.
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