Starwars style holographic 3DTV could be a reality by 2018, experts say

December 2, 2008,
Starwars style holographic 3DTV could be a reality in a decade

( -- A 3D television system which would display holographic images floating in mid air - reminiscent of a famous scene from Star Wars - could be a reality in households within the next decade according to findings by a team of University of Aberdeen academics.

Led by Professor John Watson from the University's School of Engineering, experts from the institution were partners in a four year European Commission (EC) funded project to investigate the underlying principles, technologies and practicalities of introducing 3D TV systems to the mass market.

The findings of the project suggest that a stereoscopic 3D TV with the viewer wearing 3D glasses is near market and may only be a few months away.

More advanced systems based on autostereoscopic technology, which do not require the wearing of glasses, are being piloted by several TV manufacturers and are only two or three year away from market.

Whilst the ultimate 3D experience, using fully interactive floating holographic images - similar to that which is seen when Princess Leia appears in front of Luke Skywalker as a hologram in Star Wars - could be on the market by 2018.

The University is one of 19 institutions across Europe, brought together under an EC Network of Excellence in the €6 million research project coordinated by Bilkent University in Turkey. which concluded this month.

The team of experts from the University undertook detailed analysis into the technologies of 3D visual displays the applications which would be spawned from such systems and the laser technology required to record programmes to be broadcast on this type of system.

The research coordinated by Professor Watson, drew upon expertise from key institutions from countries including Finland, Bulgaria, Turkey and Germany as well as the UK.

Professor Watson said: "The aspect of the work in which we were involved aimed to further investigate the crucial progress needed in the development and implementation of TV's which would receive and display programmes incorporating 3D images.

"Our research also looked at how 3D imagery may be used in various areas of technology including medicine, air traffic control, underwater measurement, computer graphics and gaming in order to gain a better understanding of what is needed from this technology and what applications would make best use of it.

"Our findings into how 3D TV systems would be packaged as a product suggested that either a small table with an imaging hovering above it, or a wall mounted television with an image coming out of it, would be the most feasible options.

"In order for 3DTV to become a reality, a number of significant technological developments need to be made. Importantly this includes the development of technology to allow programmes to be created which can be televised in this format and the ability to transmit the vast amount of information needed to realise a fully 3D image. If 3DTV is holographic then this would involve the use of cutting edge laser technology during the programme filming process.

"It's likely that within three years we will see a TV on the market which will use autostereo systems to create 3D images, so that viewers do not need to wear traditional 3D glasses. However, in ten years time it is highly probable that TV using holographic images which would appear to float as if in mid air will be available for consumers to purchase."

Provided by University of Aberdeen

Explore further: Fast computer control for molecular machines

Related Stories

Fast computer control for molecular machines

January 19, 2018

Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed a novel electric propulsion technology for nanorobots. It allows molecular machines to move a hundred thousand times faster than with the biochemical processes ...

Using Hawkeye from the Avengers to communicate on the eye

January 19, 2018

Pop culture figures like Iron Man, Captain America and Hawkeye can provide a unique and engaging platform for the communication of difficult scientific concepts. In the classroom, these characters can be used to communicate ...

Physicists create quantum state detector

January 18, 2018

Physicists from MIPT have teamed up with their colleagues in Russia and Great Britain and developed a superconducting quantum state detector. The new device can detect magnetic fields at low temperatures and is useful to ...

New robot can help treat rare birth defect

January 18, 2018

Researchers at the University of Sheffield and Boston's Children Hospital, Harvard Medical School have created a robot that can be implanted into the body to aid the treatment of oesophageal atresia, a rare birth defect that ...

Recommended for you


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

2.4 / 5 (5) Dec 02, 2008
the comparison to star-wars is a bit of an exaggeration. Yes, you could have holographic television, such that an image appears to float in front of or behind the screen. However, if the hologram is viewed from a sharp angle, the parts that are beyond the rectangle of the screen will disappear.

If you don't understand what I mean...
Lets say you throw a dart at the center of your LCD screen, and it sticks. Now you turn the screen until the fins of the dart intersect your line of sight with the edge of the screen. If you continue to turn the screen, the dart extends beyond the screen entirely. With the holographic television screens, you would not see the part of the dart that extends beyond the border of the screen.

4.8 / 5 (10) Dec 02, 2008
holmstar: That depends on if they're talking about hololithic 3D tech, or holographic 3D tech.

Holographic = image which has volume. Image takes up actual space, and can be viewed from any angle

Hololithic = image that appears to be holographic, but only from a fairly narrow angle (a maximum viewing angle of 180 degrees, and in practice far less than that).

Hololithic projections are just like what you see in current 3D movie theatres, but they are autostereoscopic (no glasses or other aids required).
1 / 5 (4) Dec 02, 2008
That will probably get here when my Jetsons car does.....

I'm still laughing
1 / 5 (4) Dec 03, 2008
Yawn...They've been on the verge of this for fifteen years now. Wake me up when they come up with the Holodeck.
2 / 5 (2) Dec 03, 2008
You wouldn't really be able to watch TV as we know it on a holographic projection though.
What it would be good for is phone calls and communication (the way it was used in Star Wars).
3 / 5 (3) Dec 03, 2008
Why don't they have layers of screens each projecting a translucent layer or cut of the 3D image in succession? Your image would be 3D from most viewing angles - although it would probably look "choppy" at acute viewing.

I imagine it would be clunky but a generation or two would slim it down and improve quality.
3.5 / 5 (2) Dec 03, 2008
Now that HiDef hasn't quite lived up to its hype, the industry is thrashing around for another moneyspinner - ideally something that will once again get the suckers to buy what they already have - again. I suspect the fact is that video, as it is now, is "good enough". It's now a mature tech and it's not going to be obsoleted except in very specialised and minority areas.
5 / 5 (1) Dec 05, 2008
Why don't they have layers of screens each projecting a translucent layer or cut of the 3D image in succession? Your image would be 3D from most viewing angles - although it would probably look "choppy" at acute viewing.

I imagine it would be clunky but a generation or two would slim it down and improve quality.

Each pixel of depth would require one screen so even a very low depth resolution of 100 pixels would require 100 screens making it way too expensive.
not rated yet Feb 09, 2009
Actually, you can buy a real working 3D holographic TV set even today from It is pretty big and expensive, but it works. The main problem to generate content for it. So currently only those companies buy it who have some important 3D content to display such as car and airplane manufacturers.

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.