IO2 Technology has released its Heliodisplay that projects a 2-dimensional mid-air display with a maximum resolution of 1024 x 1024. It appears to be convincingly 3-dimensional though, and thanks to an optical tracking system, it can detect finger or hand movements in the image and move the cursor correspondingly. The heliodisplay is about the size of a large computer tower turned on its side. Because of its size, the actual unit can be effectively hidden away into furniture. The display can be viewed in an office environment but not in bright sunlight: the darker the background and lighting, the better the display quality. It is not suited for outdoor use where wind could disperse the particle cloud.
The image is actually projected onto a cloud of microscopic particles, thought to be water droplets (IO2 did not confirm the speculation). Images appear different from images on traditional displays in that, although colors are fully rendered and text is legible, image definition and fidelity are inferior to those seen on cathode ray tube screens and LCD screens. The company expects its technology to improve and suggests applications such as eye-catching office and factory reception areas and trade shows, museums, and teleconferencing. A Heliodisplay costs $18,400 with touch-sensitivity adding a further $1,000.