When audiences first saw Star Wars in 1977, they were blown away by the 3D hologram visual effect that R2D2 used to project the image of Princess Leia asking Obi-Wan Kenobi for his help. The hologram technology was used in all of the Star Wars movies. Now Microsoft has released a new video showing off one of their projects at Microsoft Research that shows that such a hologram may be closer to being released than first believed.
The technology itself is called Vermeer. It uses the old idea of the mirascope. It uses two parabolic mirrors that are placed facing each other. A hole is cut in the top mirror and a small object is placed on the bottom mirror. The optical illusion is then created that makes the object look like it is floating in space.
Vermeer basically uses the same kind of principle, except that instead of a solid object being placed in the mirrors, it is a light field projector that creates a full 3D image that can be viewed in any angle. The video also shows that people can actually "touch" the holographic image which can then react to being "touched".
So Microsoft has basically created a hologram that doesn't need glass and also doesn't need special glasses to see the effect. We can't wait for Microsoft to create a way to make this work for video conferencing.