CES: 3d Laser Projection System

We really really wanted to see this system. It supposedly created a 3D projection in the air. They didn’t have a system on the floor, but invited us to their hotel room for a private showing.  We did manage to find the room and were welcomed in to the sight of a smaller unit that made a roughly 4×4 inch projection inside a cylinder.

It was truly 3D. It was not the old angled glass trick. They would not let us take pictures, or video. The guy wouldn’t really answer any questions at all. We are speculating that it was just intersecting lasers. You could clearly see the vertexes, as you can see in the pictures above and there was a scanning refresh effect that was visible to the naked eye. We really wished we could have seen the big unit that projected into the air instead.

Edit: One of our readers managed to find a video of what we were talking about, thanks [alex]! Video after the break.


16 thoughts on “CES: 3d Laser Projection System

  1. If they’re from AIST, then it’s probably this system:


    Which uses a rapidly refocusing IR laser to create small points of plasma in the air.

    The main drawbacks to this system at the moment (or at least the one that I saw at SIGGRAPH 2006) are that it’s highly mechanical (for refocusing), a bit noisy (the individual points make a crackle), it’s fairly low-res, and at the moment there is no color.

    All that said, it’s a true 3D projection into air which kicks all sorts of ass.

  2. well, apart from the need to wear wraparound IR proof laser safety goggles. the problem is that at this sort of laser power even diffuse reflections can be hazardous to eyesight.

    if the system is enclosed in an IR proof glass box this is a non issue, and clever tricks such as a rotating coloured sphere can be used to get colour.

  3. @Steve understates the Japanese SIGGRAPH 3D Laser plasma demo a bit. It was actually pretty loud, a strong buzz accompanied by a constant arc-welder like crackle. The points of light suspended in the air were lighting-spark blue white. All of the demo guys in the booth were decked out in dark safety glasses.

    It definitely deserved the show’s “Wacko Mad Scientist” award.

  4. All this talk of 3D and nobody seems to recall that back around 1994 or so there was a team that was using a supercomputer to create realtime holograms. At the time they were small(only about 2 inches tall, IIRC) but I suspect that since computers have continued advancing as they have, we should have something similar in a few years.

    I guess I should go find the original articles so I can give more background on the subject.

  5. That is the weirdest shit I ever read, raises more questions than answers –
    Why would they show pictures of it, but not have the demo unit on the conference floor for all to see?
    If they were concerned about keeping the hardware secret, why even bother to take their stuff to CES? Why not just put it in a sealed box so nobody can see how it works, just the results?
    No pictures allowed but those they put up? No video? no publicity, but they take it to CES!?
    No actual end result product to sell ‘cos its too new? CES is all about saleable product!
    These whackos with strange ideas about presenting new technology invite you up to a hotel room? I’d think twice about going for fear of it being some kind of a scam / blackmail / theft / rape / abduction / ransom shit!
    Just strange!

  6. If they are doing what I tjhink they ae – I filed a provisional patent for this technology of scanned intersecting laser/plasma projection about 20+ years ago, along with 3D audio projection using a similar concept. Both Sony and Yamaha knew about it back then – but I couldn’t afford to exploit it at the time, and it just fell away – however it may preclude their ability to protect it as a new invention (there are others that I have also advised of this issue.

  7. Back in the mid ’70s I discussed this with friends. We agreed that a contained system with a flourescing gas triggered by a threshold value of focused UV or IR light would be safer than plasma discharges in free air. Color would be possible with the right thresholds or pumping wavelengths and mixed gasses. Not new but Fun! stuff to see anyway. Thanks for the CES coverage HAD!

  8. Speaking of 3D, as anyone ever seen the Time Traveler arcade game from the early 90s? There is a wikipedia article on it but I’m still not quite sure how it worked. I remember it being pretty realistic, although it was hard to take a good look because it was only active when you put a quarter in (or was it a dollar?) and it didn’t last very long.

  9. I asked those guys when I was at their booth what would happen if I put my hand where the laser was focused and they said “nothing, it’s all perfectly safe.”

    The video’s were pretty cool, they should sort of flickering animations of stick people walking around in thin air. Kinda looked like a starwars hologram.

    To be clear, its not intersecting lasers, its a single laser that’s moving and focusing the laser at a point in space where it super-heats a tiny bit of air to create plasma.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.