For Star Wars fans, Princess Leia’s holographic message to Obi-Wan Kenobi asking for help is a pivotal moment in the 1977 Star Wars film Episode IV: A New Hope.
But it is only now that the technology enabling her desperate plea stands a chance of becoming a reality.
Engineers have created stretchable holograms that can change from one image to another, offering the tantalizing possibility that holographic videos may one day be possible.
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Scientists have created holograms that can change from one image to another as the materials used to generate them are stretched (pictured) which could lend themselves to animation
The researchers calculated how much a holographic image expands as the material generating it stretches, and how far the image plane moves away from its original position.
Based on these findings, the team created multi-layered holograms made up of two or three different images.
This means that as the surface stretches, one image appears in the place of another.
Using this method, they created a hologram that showed a pentagon in its relaxed state, which transformed into a square, and then a triangle when pulled.
Scientists from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (SEAS) at the University of Pennsylvania used metasurfaces – flat, ultra-thin surfaces – to make their holograms.
They built on their previous work in creating 3D and multi-color holograms by embedding tiny gold rods in a stretchable film.
This helped them understand how holographic images change with stretching and to see if they could use this information to create a hologram that can switch between images.