Holograms are cool. Wii remote sensors that keep track of the location of one’s hands are also cool (although more common). And targeted ultrasound that creates actual pressure at focal spots is also very cool. When Japanese researchers combined the technologies, they came up with touchable holograms.
The demo is from SIGGRAPH in August. SIGGRAPH is one of the rare conferences that really seems to understand that a good fun demo will educate people far more effectively than papers and business studies.
In addition to this story, I’m also writing for the OSA’s “Optics & Photonics News” magazine about making systems that allow blind people to drive. Robot-assisted navigation: it’s not just for parallel parking anymore!