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Displays Medicine Hardware Science Technology

MIT Fiber Points To Woven Glasses-Free 3D Displays 52

Posted by samzenpus
from the surround-sight dept.
MrSeb writes "Electrical engineers and material scientists at MIT have created a fiber-borne laser that could be woven to form a flexible display that could project different 3D images in any number of directions, to any number of viewers. MIT's fiber is similar to standard telecoms fiber, but it has a tiny droplet of fluid embedded in the core. When laser light hits the fluid, it scatters, effectively creating a 360-degree laser beam. The core is then surrounded by layers of liquid crystal, which can be controlled like 'pixels,' allowing the laser light to escape from specific points anywhere along the length of the fiber. This means that you could have a display that shows one picture on the 'front' and another on the 'back' — or different, glasses-free 3D images for everyone sitting in front and behind. In the short term, the laser fiber is more likely to have a significant application in photodynamic therapy, an area of medicine where drugs are activated using light. Photodynamic therapy is one of the only ways to treat cancer in a relatively non-invasive and non-toxic manner. MIT's laser could be threaded into almost any part of the body, where the ability to produce pixels of laser light at any point along its length would make it a highly accurate device."
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MIT Fiber Points To Woven Glasses-Free 3D Displays

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  • First thought this was like Snow Crash, but I RTFA and it is "not quite". Still great tech!

  • is a 360 degree laser beam? Laser light is coherent light travelling in one direction, and this light spreads out in all directions ... so what exactly makes this be laser light, once it leaves the fiber? I think the correct technical term would just be "light."
    • Wikipedia quoting in response to my own nerdrage:

      There are some lasers which are not single spatial mode and consequently their light beams diverge more than required by the diffraction limit. However all such devices are classified as "lasers" based on their method of producing that light: stimulated emission. Lasers are employed in applications where light of the required spatial or temporal coherence could not be produced using simpler technologies.

      The light originally came from a laser, so it's laser light even though its diverging in all directions. Bollocks.

      • by NEDHead (1651195)

        In addition to the laser device being the source of the light, I believe that the highly monochromatic nature of the light is part of the 'laser light' essence. This is presumably preserved regardless of the spatial dispersion.

        • by Magada (741361)

          Laser light is coherent (which has to do with waveform). That's its fundamental property. The fact that it comes out of most lasers already collimated to a great extent is just a bonus side-effect of the way those lasers are built.

          • by Agripa (139780)

            Laser light is coherent (which has to do with waveform). That's its fundamental property. The fact that it comes out of most lasers already collimated to a great extent is just a bonus side-effect of the way those lasers are built.

            But most lasers are only coherent for a distance of millimeters or less and they are used for their brightness and/or narrow bandwidth. They are useless for holography and interferometry.

    • If you want to be pedantic, laser light is light produced by amplification based on stimulated emission. The light tends to be temporally coherent (in-phase) and spatially coherent (single point), but neither is necessary. If they've managed to spread out a laser beam while keeping it in-phase and polarized, it's very much laser light, just not focused.

  • I think maybe you should lead with the cancer treatment next time.

  • by maroberts (15852) on Monday March 12, 2012 @09:14AM (#39325703) Homepage Journal

    Upvoted this improvement to their head mounted weapons array....

  • MIT is like OZ for geeks... ;>

  • I know there is a lot going on in this article that is technically over my head, but I wish people would stop talking about "glasses free" 3D like it's some futuristic flying car. The 3DS has been out for a year, and it has 3D tech for game playing, photo taking and video recording in a $170 kids toy. I know there are a couple of cell phones also. I'm sure the fiber optic stuff is great and all, but glasses free 3D is here now.
    • While I agree there should be a distinction made (just as I detest the term 3D for stereoscopic image) this tech is entirely different than the 3DS.

      This would theoretically allow for a movie theatre full of people to each be broadcast their own version of the movie with the correct perspective point thereby making stereoscopic *almost* worthy of the 3D moniker.

      So while it should be called "multi-perspective glasses-free stereoscopic display" the simple fact is you're rant is completely unwarranted, the tech

  • Okay, let's roll: "General Kenobi, years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars. Now he begs you to help him in his struggle against the Empire ..."
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pushing_Ice [wikipedia.org]

    AFAIR mentions the use of communication of electronic devices via clothes that emit and detect light at a rapid rate.

  • Extreme Tech: ... effectively creating a 360-degree laser beam.

    /me dons his cynic's hat.

    Photodynamic therapy is one of the only ways to treat cancer

    And, I suppose you are going to say your laser can be used to cure cancer now.

    MIT's laser could be threaded into almost any part of the body, where the ability to produce pixels of laser light at any point along its length would make it a highly accurate device."

    You didn't disappoint. Unfortunately your entertaining article is rather short. If it was a bit longer, I would have expected solutions for rebuilding the glacier shelf and ending violence in the mid-east.

  • Seems like this would have big potential for use in all-optical routing, but I did not see any mention of that in the articles. Any optical routing pros out there who can tell us if this tech is applicable?

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