Japan firm showcases Bat-Signal of the future

October 20, 2014
A free-floating image created by firing lasers into thin air was unveiled in Japan, offering the possibility one day of projecting messages into a cloudless sky, as seen in Batman

A free-floating image created by firing lasers into thin air was unveiled in Japan on Monday, offering the possibility one day of projecting messages into a cloudless sky, as seen in Batman.

And, like the Bat-Signal that alerted the Caped Crusader to trouble brewing in Gotham City, its inventors hope that it might eventually be used to warn people of danger such as an approaching tsunami.

The company behind the technology, Burton Inc., showed off rotating spirals, fluttering butterflies and the outline of an apple hovering a few metres over a van loaded with the system.

Like a child concentrating sunlight with a magnifying glass, the device focuses intense laser into a tiny spot in the air. This makes the molecules there emit that looks like a cross between a tiny explosion and a bright LED.

"The biggest feature of our technology is that we can concentrate light on one spot and make it emit light wherever we like," said Akira Asano, researcher and director of Burton Inc.

The bursts of light come hundreds of times a second, and as the beam moves, are able to form what appear to the naked eye as rudimentary .

Researchers said the system, as well as having possible value for advertisers, could be used to send alerts and evacuation advisories during major natural disasters because they can be seen day and night and do not require screens.

"We could go by car anytime 24 hours a day into a disaster zone and help send information and warnings," said Burton chief executive Hideki Kimura, adding the images could offer alerts to people who could not hear conventional radio.

The , which was unveiled at a science museum in Tokyo, can currently display images five metres (16.5 feet) above the device. But the company is aiming to double that height, he said.

The company, based in Kawasaki City southwest of Tokyo, hopes to start negotiations next year with businesses and municipal bodies on putting the system to eventual practical use.

Explore further: Tokyo tech fair opens with robotic clapping of hands

Related Stories

Omron develops 3D display technology using transparent sheet

October 7, 2014

Omron has technology that projects images in air by means of a transparent sheet. Naoki Tanaka of Nikkei Electronics recently reported on what is called "Transparent Plate-type Space Projection Technology." The approach projects ...

Researchers design plasmonic cavity-free nanolaser

September 22, 2014

(Phys.org) —A team of researchers at Imperial College in London has designed a new type of laser, one that could be made much smaller than today's models because it would be cavity-free. In their paper published in the ...

Nanoparticles break the symmetry of light

October 6, 2014

How can a beam of light tell the difference between left and right? At the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) tiny particles have been coupled to a glass fibre. The particles emit light into the fibre in such a way ...

Recommended for you

Computer learns to recognize sounds by watching video

December 1, 2016

In recent years, computers have gotten remarkably good at recognizing speech and images: Think of the dictation software on most cellphones, or the algorithms that automatically identify people in photos posted to Facebook.

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Oct 20, 2014
And, like the Bat-Signal that alerted the Caped Crusader to trouble brewing in Gotham City, its inventors hope that it might eventually be used to warn people of danger such as an approaching tsunami.
...
Researchers said the system, as well as having possible value for advertisers

I'm thinking ads and company logos will come first (reminds me of Neuromancer).
ViperSRT3g
not rated yet Oct 20, 2014
This technology has been around for a few years now. I suppose this is just an update on how much further away from the laser emitter the images can be drawn?
drel
not rated yet Oct 21, 2014
Should put a dent in the local moth population.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.