Researchers Now Know How to Create 3D Holograms Using Wi-Fi

Scientists have been hard at work trying to deliver to consumers some of the best technology we’ve ever seen. Sometimes, the best way to do this is to take advantage of tech already available, and that’s exactly what some researchers have decided to do.

The idea here is to make it possible for Wi-Fi signals to create 3D hologram images in the home. Any object around a network should be able to appear as a 3D hologram, and since Wi-Fi signals can travel through walls, the plan is to have 3D objects do the same.

For example, imagine a holographic image of a person with half of the body in a room and the other half outside of the room. That’s making a 3D hologram travel through walls, and from our point of view, it would likely be the next step in augmented reality if it ever comes to fruition.

The researchers behind this impressive piece of technology are from Germany. Before being fleshed out into an extensive study, the idea began first as an undergraduate thesis project and was earlier this month published by the Physical Review of Letters.

We understand the technique could produce images at a rate of 10 times per second, which is quite amazing from our point of view.

This technology isn’t 100 percent new

Scientists have been using Wi-Fi for imaging for quite some time. However, this is the first time researchers have used it to recreate large spaces in 3D holograms. For now, the system isn’t sufficiently accurate to differentiate many details, but that’s not much of a problem. For the simple of task of identifying individual shapes, it works just fine.

“If there’s a cup of coffee on a table, you may see something is there, but you couldn’t see the shape,” said Philipp Holl, a Technical University of Munich physics student in a statement. “But you could make out the shape of a person, or a dog on a couch. Really any object that’s more than four centimeters in size.”

How does this thing work?

Well, it uses the Wi-Fi signal to scan a room – just think of it as a radar rig running at little power. Devices such as our smartphones and other electronic products within the home will act as light bulbs. Bear in mind; the entire system relies on two antennas; one that records the signal, and another serving as a 2D plane.

Now, after the data is collected, the emitters and three-dimensional view of objects are fed into the digital reconstruction algorithm. From here, the holograms are created and brought into the physical space.

Time will tell if this technology eventually makes it to real world products in the future. For now, we have several Augmented Reality devices to look forward to that are bound to deliver high level holographic experiences.

The experience won’t be on the same scale we’ve seen in movies, but certainly, the technology will get there eventually.

[See More: Finally, We’ve Come to an Age of 3D Holograms]