Obviously within the next decade holograms will play a much bigger role in our daily lives. We're already seeing them used for marketing purposes at malls across America, as well as for promoting movies (like the upcoming sci-fl flick Gamer, which created virtual strippers that looked to be dancing right in front of your computer). The problem with holograms, though, is that you can't interact with them because, in the end, it's just light. You wave your hand through the hologram and nothing happens because light isn't a solid object that could me knocked over if pushed or shoved. Light is, well, light.

But that may soon change as a group of researchers from the University of Tokyo are working to develop holograms that you can touch and watch react to your presence. From the Siggraph website: "This project adds tactile feedback to the hovering image in 3D free space. Tactile sensation requires contact with objects, but including a stimulator in the work space dilutes the appearance of holographic images. The Airborne Ultrasound Tactile Display solves this problem by producing tactile sensation on a user's hand without any direct contact and without diluting the quality of the holographic projection."

It's all pretty insane, and I can only imagine where this technology will be 20 years from now. Check out a video demonstration after the jump to see what I'm talking about, and then let us know what you would use touchable holography for. Or, wait -- on second thought, I don't think I want to know.
categories Movies, Sci-Fi