Meet Me On The Cheapo Holodeck, Cap'n
Some very smart people over at MIT have come up with an inexpensive way to generate holographic images that works along with standard computer hardware and gaming consoles.
Thus, Bove and his team have developed Mark III--expected to be completed within a couple of months--which is based on the earlier systems but has three major differences. First, explains Bove, the new system processes three-dimensional images on a standard graphics processor rather than on specialized hardware. It turns out, he says, that the graphics cards that are found in high-end PCs and gaming consoles are a good fit for the type of image processing required to create a hologram. Second, his team has redesigned a gadget called an acousto-optic modulator, commonly found in telecommunications systems, to direct light from lasers to form the hologram. The new modulator has a higher bandwidth, which makes for a high-resolution hologram, and is less expensive than the ones used in Mark II. Third, the researchers have eliminated some of the clunky optical components that made the Marks I and II as large as a dining-room table.
Of course such a system would have a profoundly beneficial effect on the viewing of three dimensional images like MRIs and CAT scans. But never mind that - I want my Holodeck. What application would you want to see holographically?