There was a time when video was the newest frontier of visual technology, but modern society has become jaded to the wonders of display.
Still, even digital natives are bound to be mystified by the rise of holographic touch screens, and they may soon be coming to a computer near you.
Different Modes of Function
The concept of a holographic touch screen is basically self explanatory based on the name. They feature 3D graphics that can be manipulated by touch, but the ways in which different companies plan to implement this technology vary substantially.
A New York-based startup chose not to rest on any laurels when it came to developing their holographic touch screens. Of course, touch screen technology itself is the basis for this endeavour, but rather than make their product look like anything else on the market, Looking Glass Factory created something wholly different in 2018.
Their screen looks more like a cube than a traditional monitor. It is essentially two different computer screens, which combined allow you to view things as three dimensional. These screens are intended for designers or health care professionals whose jobs rely upon seeing images very accurately.
Though these displays are impressive by all accounts, they’re not exactly user friendly. The Looking Glass system must be hooked up to a separate computer, and doesn’t display an entire screen in holographic form, but rather only certain parts.
Perhaps a more consumer friendly option is one that Apple may unveil, if a 2011 patent ever comes to fruition. The patent featured a holographic touch screen system similar to that projection keyboards. A series of lenses would create 3D graphics in front of a screen, and those same lenses would be used to determine where a user’s fingers are interrupting the light.
This disruption would signal to the device it is being touched, and the graphics would respond accordingly. Of course, this system would take some adjustment from users as they wouldn’t physically be “touching” anything other than light.
Far Out Theories and Futuristic Flicks
The inspiration for holographic touch screens comes, perhaps, from multiple sources. The first of these is obviously the technology of holography itself, which was first conceptualized in 1947. At the time, the possibility of holographic items was viewed as more scientifically useful than recreational.
An even greater source of inspiration for these computer screens may come from science fiction, which has long been a hypothetical champion for such devices. Think of any kind of control room scene, from that in the newest member of the Spiderman franchise to Avatar—are the screens holographic? Are they manipulated by touch? Of course.
Unlike many other technologies that aren’t widely commercially available, there is no question that holographic touch screens are entirely possible. In reality, the same technology already exists in different applications. Whether it is the cost of implementing it, or the logistical restraints that have kept tech moguls from rolling out such products is uncertain.
Someday, perhaps not so far in the future, you’ll have a hard time remembering that your computer screen was ever two dimensional, or that you ever had to use a trackpad or mouse to manipulate it.