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IO2 Technology's Heliodisplay M3 projects a floating image onto an invisible particle cloud.
Now anyone can project floating holograms -- anyone with about $20,000, that is

IO2 Technology has released its third-generation "mid-air display," boasting higher brightness and resolution, as well as advancements in image clarity and stability.

The $18,400 system, which produces an impressive 3-dimensional display that appears to hover in mid-air, now features native 1024x768 resolution and significantly quieter operation according to the manufacturer. The previous version of the Heliodisplay was limited to native SVGA resolution of 800x600. For $1,000 more, buyers of the new Heliodisplay
M3 can opt for a touch-sensitive version of the projector that also acts as a computer input device, providing cursor control in a desktop PC environment.

Although the company has been careful to say very little about how its patented and patent-pending technology works, designer Chad Dyner has confirmed in interviews that the device works on the principal of projecting an image onto a cloud of microscopic particles, presumably water vapor, which is created using proprietary thermodynamic process. The effect is startlingly reminiscent of the floating hologram of Princess Lei from the movie Star Wars.

According to the patent granted granted to Dyner in 2005, the Heliodisplay operates "by ejecting atomized condensate present in the surrounding air, in a controlled fashion, into an invisible particle cloud." The cloud is produced using a heat pump, according to the patent office,  which creates a thermal differential to extract condensation from the ambient air. That condensation is pumped into an expansion chamber where it is atomized, then forced through an ejection nozzle to create a particle cloud screen. The patent also covers use of an optical system to detect and track movement in and around the mist, and using the tracking information for control functions.

The improvements introduced in the new M3 model are expected to make the projector more marketable for professional applications, such as teleconferencing and high-end displays in board rooms, product showrooms, museums and hotel or corporate lobbies.

IO2 released it's second generation mid-air display in May, 2006.

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two-dimensional resolution?
By lplatypus on 3/2/2007 2:46:52 AM , Rating: 2
features native 1024x768 resolution

Shouldn't the resolution be quoted with three dimensions, eg 1024x768x512? Or can this device only display a rectangular surface (a bit like the 3D graphics in "Doom") rather than pixels arbitrarily located in the 3D space?

RE: two-dimensional resolution?
By Hypernova on 3/2/2007 2:54:53 AM , Rating: 2
This is not a 3d display but rather something that creates it's own screen in mid air.

RE: two-dimensional resolution?
By Dianoda on 3/2/2007 3:39:51 AM , Rating: 2
Damn that is cool. Lock a bunch of engineers in a room and it seems like just about anything is possible; props to team that this a reality. The only thing left to wonder is: when will an average bum like me be able to afford one?

RE: two-dimensional resolution?
By Dianoda on 3/2/2007 3:44:59 AM , Rating: 2
Ah man...typos, I wish my brain would function better this late at night. Ya, I meant to say: props to the team that made this a reality. Grammar, the silent killer.

RE: two-dimensional resolution?
By scrapsma54 on 3/2/2007 8:40:22 AM , Rating: 2
technically its 3d since it can direct the particles and emit the light it needs in a 3d shape.

By ADDAvenger on 3/2/2007 10:53:28 AM , Rating: 2
Would it be 3D in the sense that the picture is diagonal to the ground? Ie the pixels are above and in front of each other because it can't project an image through its own pixels?

Actually that's assuming the projector is below the mist, it could be behind it at a low angle..

Whatever this is, it's pretty sweet.

RE: two-dimensional resolution?
By KaiserCSS on 3/2/2007 2:19:11 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, according to the product info found at the bottom of this page: it's capable of up to 1280x1024. That's pretty good.

However, there's that issue of flicker. I'm thinking there might be a way to stabalize the top of the projected image using some sort of cieling-mounted device. I don't have a clue how this works though; it's just an idea. Personally, I wouldn't touch this display until they fix the flicker/wavering problem with the top of an image.

heh what happens when
By otispunkmeyer on 3/2/2007 4:11:37 AM , Rating: 3
theres a wind or a breeze

imagine your in a board room an the AC is on oscilate and every 10 seconds the display is blown away lol.

you could have so much fun ruining peoples presentations with strategically placed desk fans :P

RE: heh what happens when
By BladeVenom on 3/2/2007 4:38:34 AM , Rating: 2
Or just the occasional sneeze.

RE: heh what happens when
By fk49 on 3/2/2007 4:16:46 PM , Rating: 2
What if the air is especially dry in the room? Doesn't this depend on some moisture in the room to extract its 'mist'?

By Seemonkeyscanfly on 3/2/2007 7:04:27 PM , Rating: 3
it's probably very shocking.... :P

By medavid16 on 3/2/2007 2:52:18 AM , Rating: 2
It's more than just blue

It's not 3 dimensional in that sense of a projected image. When they said 3D, they meant a 2D image projected into a 3D plane, so your picture is still 2D.

RE: answers
By Hypernova on 3/2/2007 2:59:16 AM , Rating: 2
The blue effect is a normal thing, think how it always looked when you tried to take photos of TV's and the like. I'm sure the thing looks great if you see it with your own eyes.

RE: answers
By Frank M on 3/2/2007 8:18:48 AM , Rating: 2
So in other words, it's not 3D.

By Visual on 3/2/2007 4:18:37 AM , Rating: 3
there are more pictures on their website showing that other colors work just fine. and also there is a video, which shows *massive* image fluctuations towards the top of the display. if crt flicker was an issue for you, this will probably just make your head explode :p

RE: flicker
By isaacmacdonald on 3/2/2007 6:41:10 PM , Rating: 2
After watching that video, I can't fathom how this device could be commercially viable. Presumably this was done in a controlled environment, yet the image fluctuations are ridiculous/nauseating.

I don't think you're going to see this used for office presentations, ever.

By Mitch101 on 3/2/2007 10:54:17 AM , Rating: 3
Does it ship with a copy of Virtual Valerie? After all its touch sensitive.

RE: Valerie?
By iNGEN on 3/2/2007 3:43:22 PM , Rating: 2
A new chain of interactive peep-show booths? Presentation of products in real space during a commercial?
Maybe I should stop listening to Bill Watkins...

Can it display my video games?
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 3/2/2007 9:49:38 AM , Rating: 2
The most important question of course is can it play or display video games? Or is it only practical for charts, grafts, and still photos?

RE: Can it display my video games?
By Moishe on 3/2/2007 10:22:24 AM , Rating: 2
Without it being 3D I'm not seeing much of a use for most things. It's cool, but not something that most people need. I play games on my 110" HD projector... and it was far, far cheaper than $20k, and I'd bet it looks far better too.

Where is the need for this screen? JumboTron replacement? Portable screens viewable from both sides (one side would be reversed)

Ah Hell!
By frobizzle on 3/2/2007 8:16:13 PM , Rating: 4
This is not news! I saw this demoed before, a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.
"Help me Obi-wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!"

I was also thinking StarWars
By S3anister on 3/2/2007 2:43:17 AM , Rating: 2
But does it only display in blue?

RE: I was also thinking StarWars
By joust on 3/2/2007 3:12:44 AM , Rating: 1
But does it run linux?

Yeah but whats the response time?
By goku on 3/2/2007 4:49:43 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder what the response time for this would be however...

By osalcido on 3/2/2007 6:25:28 PM , Rating: 1
I dont see why this is such a big deal anyway..... cant you get the same result if you aim a projector at a bunch of mist too?

Fake 3D
By Jackyl on 3/3/2007 2:15:15 PM , Rating: 3
It is not 3D. It is 2D and projected onto a stream of fog/mist that is made by an air cooling compressor like on your refrigerator. The projector is just aimed at this fog/mist and it appears that the image is floating. The computer/laptop just plays back a rotating animation that appears to be 3D. It is not!

People are suckers to pay $18K for this thing. Others in the field have built the same thing in their garage for less than $500 in parts.

By outsider on 3/2/2007 3:57:50 AM , Rating: 2
What year did they set Johny Mnemonic on? Far, far into the future. He even needed some glasses for the holographic touch sensitive display. And 300GB? That too is easily achievable today, through flash memory.
Next time Hollywood sets a movie into the future and uses PC terminology, they should really exaggerate.

By vhx on 3/2/2007 11:27:33 PM , Rating: 2
Very nice. Reminds me of movies like The Matrix when they are using some type of displays in mid air.

Anyone know of a place to see a video of this in action?

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