We all know the scene from a hundred movies and T.V. shows: Princess Leia saying, "Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope" or David Caruso walking - sideways, of course, glaring over his left shoulder - around a three-dimensional projection based on forensic models of the killing blow. What we're talking about is holograms, of course, and it looks like we may be on the way to actually achieving this long-imagined technology - and fairly soon.

Japanese 3D-display engineering firm Burton has developed what it says is the first true three-dimensional display technology. Instead of projecting images onto a two-dimensional screen, as current technologies do, the Aerial 3D system uses lasers to produce plasma excitation from oxygen and nitrogen particles at specific points in air or water. It is a modified iteration of technology co-developed by AIST and Keio University and first unveiled in 2006.  In the video below, 3D images such as text, fish, and a Zordon-like mask appear to be suspended in water, the product of the flashing laser, which currently creates about 50,000 dots per second at a frame rate of about 10 to 15 frames per second.

According to Burton, the company plans to improve frame rate to 24 to 30 fps, which is comparable to basic video. Though the company uses a single green laser and water medium in the demonstration,  more powerful lasers are capable of accomplishing the effect in air, while a combination of red, green, and blue lasers could create images in a full spectrum of colors. Initially, the company saw a possibility for commercialization of the technology in the area of digital signage but has broadened its scope to also include possible future applications in healthcare and practical analysis of 3D objects.

Via DigInfo TV.