Holographic three-dimensional telepresence using large-area photorefractive polymer

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Holography is a technique that is used to display objects or scenes in three dimensions. Such three-dimensional (3D) images, or holograms, can be seen with the unassisted eye and are very similar to how humans see the actual environment surrounding them. The concept of 3D telepresence, a real-time dynamic hologram depicting a scene occurring in a different location, has attracted considerable public interest since it was depicted in the original Star Wars film in 1977. However, the lack of sufficient computational power to produce realistic computer-generated holograms1 and the absence of large-area and dynamically updatable holographic recording media2 have prevented realization of the concept. Here we use a holographic stereographic technique3 and a photorefractive polymer material as the recording medium4 to demonstrate a holographic display that can refresh images every two seconds. A 50 Hz nanosecond pulsed laser is used to write the holographic pixels5. Multicoloured holographic 3D images are produced by using angular multiplexing, and the full parallax display employs spatial multiplexing. 3D telepresence is demonstrated by taking multiple images from one location and transmitting the information via Ethernet to another location where the hologram is printed with the quasi-real-time dynamic 3D display. Further improvements could bring applications in telemedicine, prototyping, advertising, updatable 3D maps and entertainment.

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Figure 1: Example of diffraction efficiency dynamics under single nanosecond pulse writing.
Figure 2: Image from a hologram recorded with the pulsed system.
Figure 3: Pictures of coloured holograms.
Figure 4: Full parallax recording sketch.
Figure 5: Telepresence system.


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We acknowledge support from AFOSR, DARPA and the NSF ERC Center on Integrated Access Networks (CIAN).

Author information

P.-A.B. and A.B. did experimental work. R.V. did modelling and software. C.C., P.W. and M.K. did experimental work. W.L., T.G., D.F., W.-Y.H., B.R., O.S. and J.T. did sample preparation. R.A.N. and Y.Y. are team leaders. N.P. did project planning and management.

Correspondence to N. Peyghambarian.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Movie I

This movie shows the rapid writing time of the 3D display system. It uses 6 nanosecond pulses at a repletion rate of 50Hz. It demonstrates that an image can be written in about 2 seconds. (MOV 8662 kb)

Supplementary Movie 2

This movie shows the concept of 3D telepresence. The 3D images of two of our researchers located in location A are sent via internet to another location B. Our 3D system at location B displays the two researchers. The movie is in real time and shows the speed of the entire process. (MOV 11631 kb)

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Blanche, P., Bablumian, A., Voorakaranam, R. et al. Holographic three-dimensional telepresence using large-area photorefractive polymer. Nature 468, 80–83 (2010) doi:10.1038/nature09521

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