Star Wars-Inspired 3D Graphic Displays Float in Space

Brigham Young University engineers have developed a technique for creating a full-color 3D graphic display that can float in free space - and is visible from any angle. "This display is like a 3D printer for light. You're actually printing an object in space with these little particles," says BYU electrical engineering professor Daniel Smalley. Inspired by the displays of science fiction, most notably the projection of Star Wars' Princess Leia, the new Optical Trap Display (OTD) technique creates a 3D volumetric image by trapping and illuminating a particle with a laser, and then scanning the image in free space. To learn more, read a Tech Briefs Q&A with Smalley.