MIT reported a new approach to generating holograms that could lead to color holographic-video displays that are much cheaper to manufacture than today’s experimental, monochromatic displays. The same technique could also increase the resolution of conventional 2-D displays.
Using the new technique, Daniel Smalley, a graduate student in the Media Lab and first author on the new paper, is building a prototype color holographic-video display whose resolution is roughly that of a standard-definition TV and which can update video images 30 times a second, fast enough to produce the illusion of motion. The heart of the display is an optical chip, resembling a microscope slide, that Smalley built, using only MIT facilities, for about $10.
“Everything else in there costs more than the chip,” says Smalley’s thesis advisor, Michael Bove, a principal research scientist at the Media Lab and head of its Object-Based Media Group. “The power supplies in there cost more than the chip. The plastic costs more than the chip.”
The lab, known for inventing the technology behind electronic ink, has created a holographic chip that can support the display of more than 50 gigapixels per second and simulate real-life objects by bending projected light in a continuous range of directions, eliminating the need for three-dimensional glasses.
Scientists estimate that a holographic monitor using the technology could be built for less than £320 ($500USD), excluding light sources.
The team, led by Dr Michael Bove, wrote in Nature: 'We are now exploring displays based on arrays of these devices such as a small PC-driven, holographic video monitor and large-scale displays exceeding half a metre in width driven by dedicated hardware.
'It is now possible... to make holographic video monitors with full-colour, standard video resolution and a 30Hz (hertz) refresh rate.'
Bove estimates that holographic TV will be practical within ten years.