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Moving holograms that you can touch.

IT IS possible to create a 3D moving image using nothing but a tiny polystyrene ball and speakers.
Ryuji Hirayama at the University of Sussex, UK, and his colleagues built the device using 512 speakers, positioned above and below a small 3D stage that acts as an image display. The speakers emit silent ultrasound to create small pockets of low air pressure in which the polystyrene ball floats.

By manipulating the sound waves, they can rapidly shift the precise 3D position of the lowpressure pockets, and so control the position of the ball.
If the bead moves fast enough, it traces out what appears to the viewer to be a 3D shape, and it is even possible to change the form of that shape over time to give the impression of a moving 3D object.
All this has to happen extremely quickly.
The 3D shape has to be traced out in full in less than 0.1 seconds – any slower and the visual effect is lost. It is possible to add colour to the 3D objects by directing beams of red, green and blue light onto the bead. In one demonstration, the system shows a butterfly flapping its wings (pictured). People are also able to touch the image.
This works because the speakers create an area of higher pressure air surrounding the bead. When your fingers contact it, it feels like you are touching the 3D object

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