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MIT Creates 3-Dimension Image Floating in Space

July 24, 1986|United Press International

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Researchers have produced a three-dimensional image that appeared to be floating in space to demonstrate creation of the first free-standing hologram.

Using lasers, computers, a mirror, fiber optics and special film, the researchers generated a solid-looking image of a 9-by-4-inch green Chevrolet Camaro that seemed to be suspended in front of a darkened alcove.

"You can walk up and put your hand through it," said Tim Browne, assistant director of the Media Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which developed the technology. "It's amazing."

May Aid Surgeons

The researchers hope the new technology will eventually have wide applications--from allowing doctors to visualize surgery before entering the operating room to letting architects see their buildings without models.

Previously, researchers could only produce three-dimensional images on a computer screen or generate so-called holograms inside cylinders or on flat surfaces that limited the viewer's ability to see all sides.

The new technology does not allow the viewer to get behind the image, but the display provides a 180-degree viewing field that permits the object to be seen from the front and sides.

"You have a two-dimensional image on a computer screen and you can rotate it to give a three-dimensional perspective, but you can never really see it as a solid," MIT researcher Stephen Benton said Tuesday.

"Using our system, the image is completely projected into space, suspended, floating in front of the observer," Benton said. "You get a real sense of what it's going to look like."

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