If you watch much science fiction, you know that in the future, there’re plenty of 3D holographic displays. From Princess Leah’s distress call to the Star Trek holodeck, there’s no shortage of computers that can make realistic images. It might not be up to holodeck standards, but [freedscript] created a 3D display for an Arduino using a chopstick, a motor, some paper, and a LASER. Of course, it isn’t actually a hologram, but neither is half the stuff you see on TV (Star Trek’s holographic characters were disturbingly solid for standing waves). The display is a type of volumetric display.
The idea is deceptively simple. A paper corkscrew spins and a laser spot
perpendicular parallel to the axis of rotation can create a point that appears to be anywhere in a slice of the volume enclosed by the outer perimeter of the corkscrew. You can see in the video below that the device is simple to build, although the results are not overwhelming. If the corkscrew is too big, the edges will have to move too fast. Also, you need a lot of LASERS, including one to sense the index point of the corkscrew.
Still, it is impressive to see an Arduino driving a 3D display, and the system is simple enough to hack if you’d like to experiment. We’ve looked at other optios for 3D displays before, both using lasers and using computer projectors. Maybe Princess Leia’s distress call will soon be a reality.