Making a video screen out of thin air

In a museum in Tampere, Finland, Ismo Rakkolainen's fog machine conjures up the Mona Lisa on an invisible sheet of water particles.

Thousands of miles away in Hermosa Beach, California, a graduate student passes his hand through an image of a DNA strand produced -- apparently out of thin air -- by a modified video projector. The two inventions represent the latest front in advanced computer displays -- eliminating the screen altogether. While unlikely to replace the desktop computer monitor, so-called walk-through displays could eventually be put to use in product showrooms, museums, and military training facilities.

"This is something that people have been dreaming about for a long time," said Chad Dyner, 29, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and inventor of Heliodisplay, one of the prototype display systems. "Ever since the movie 'Star Wars' came out and there was a distress call from Princess Leia," -- generated in thin air by the robot R2D2 -- "people all over the world have been wanting one of these."

News source: CNN

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