Star Wars in Reality

When I watch Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, I always wonder at the possibilities the future might bring us insofar as technology from Star Wars coming into the real world.  Who wouldn’t want a lightsaber and faster than light travel?

Well, one piece of technology from Star Wars is closer to becoming a reality than we realized.

Inspired by the hologram of Princess Leia beaming from Artoo-Detto, delivering her dire message to her only hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi, scientists are close to perfecting moving 3D holograms that work without the aid of glasses.

Funded by a DARPA grant, it is hoped that this could have military or medical applications (such as layouts of battlefields, or organs inside of someone going into surgery.)

From the NPR article on the subject:

But his main inspiration came straight out of Hollywood. Peyghambarian points to the scene in the movie Star Wars where a hologram of Princess Leia asks for help from Obi Wan Kenobi. “This has always been our goal,” he says.

Key to this process was the development of a special, photorefractive polymer — essentially a transparent screen — that could display the image, then quickly erase it and refresh with a new image. Peyghambarian’s team was able to project a hologram image that can refresh every two seconds.

Now all we need to do is get astromech droids that can function with an AI together and make this able to be projected and we’re almost there.