Producing holographic movies

Making a feature-length, three-dimensional, holographic movie will require

fixing numerous images on one crystal and rotating the crystal as the images

are being read, creating an effect similar to traditional film making in

which rapidly displaying images gives the appearance of movement.

"First of all, I could store lots of data that way. You only have to

rotate the crystal a degree — or less. Then we can continually rotate the

crystal and maybe get motion. That's feasible if we prove we can multiplex,"

said Gary Wood, optics branch chief at the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi,

Md. "I have no reason to believe we can't do that. Everything I've seen

leads me to believe we can do it. Then a lot of these applications we talk

about are feasible."

Although commercial moviemaking is within the realm of possibility,

it will be nearly impossible to project a movie to a mass audience, according

to Greg Salamo, a physics professor at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

That is because the reader beam projects the image directly to the viewer's

eye, making it difficult to project the image to large crowds.

If the technology proves viable, however, researchers probably have

not yet even conceived all the possible applications, said Richard Anderson,

a senior science advisor with the National Science Foundation who participates

in the Army effort.

"Once you do something like this, all of a sudden science will start

recognizing all sorts of things that are potential applications. Imagination

will determine what the applications will be," Anderson said.

"I feel like if we can get past the near term goals, we've got something

significant. That's why we made them near term goals. If these work, then

I know something good will come out of it. The long-term goals I think are

not as challenging," Wood said, reserving the right to change his mind as

things progress.

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