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Future technology demo projects 3-D imagery mid-air

What self-respecting tech-head or sci-fi geek doesn’t remember the holographic projection of Princess Leia pleading for Obi Wan Kenobi’s help in defeating the empire?

While there was no holographic projection of Carrie Fisher beaming from a dutiful R2-D2 in Amsterdam, there was an intriguing technology demonstration in the IBC2011 Future Zone of mid-air 3-D images by Burton.

In development for three years, the Aerial 3D system relies on 50,000 laser blasts per second to build 3-D images mid-air. The laser-based prototype shown at IBC was a smaller version of a larger plasma-based system that’s been in existence for seven years.

While the technology isn’t yet ready to muster Jedi forces to defeat the empire, Hugo Yoshikawa of Burton says continued development of the Aerial 3D system could lead to a version for consumers within the next few years. How much longer it will be until that system is built into fireplug-shaped robot on wheels is anybody’s guess.

This video shot at the Burton stand in the Future Zone at IBC2011, shows Aerial 3-D in action while the system is described by Yoshikawa.