Pictures That Move In 3-D

In 1947, Hungarian British scientist Dennis Gabor was tinkering with ways to improve the resolution of the electron microscope when he accidentally invented the hologram. The feat won him a Nobel, but since then nobody has been able to figure out how to make the holographic version of a motion picture—holograms have remained static. Recently, however, researchers at the University of Arizona in Tucson wrote in the journal Nature that they have created an updatable holographic film, made of a unique blend of polymers that allows images to be stored, erased and replaced with new images every few minutes. That's too slow for Hollywood but fast enough for a host of new applications, says laser scientist and lead author Nasser Peyghambarian. Doctors could perform keyhole surgery guided by MRI images in 3-D. Soldiers could watch battlefield images from many different angles at once. The next step is to cut the time needed to refresh the 3-D image from minutes to milliseconds, leading to holographic TV or videogames.