Holographic movies show promise for medical, military applications

DALLAS June 14, 2005 In a small research laboratory at UT Southwestern Medical Center, a grainy, red movie of circling fighter jets emerges from a table-top black box, while nearby, a video of a rotating human heart hangs suspended in a tank of gooey gel.

These images the first true, three-dimensional, holographic movies are the brainchild of Dr. Harold "Skip" Garner, professor of biochemistry and internal medicine at UT Southwestern.

While such movies will not be coming soon to a theater near you, they have earned Dr. Garner and his "holographic television" a spot on Popular Science magazine's list of the top five "great ideas for the future," featured in the June 2005 issue.

"I thought it was great that we made this list," Dr. Garner said. "It's good company to be in."

Also on the Popular Science list are a bionic eye, technology for a "smart" home, a tourist's spacesuit and the ultimate roller coaster.

"An important next step is to take our proof of principle technology that we have now and move it into a commercial entity," said Dr. Garner. "We think the two initial markets will be in medical visualization and military applications, such as heads-up displays for helmets and military aircraft and coordinating battlefield information."

In the long term, Dr. Garner said, entertainment uses could include 3-D multiplayer games, theme park or advertising displays, and "Holo TV." He and his colleagues have worked with students in Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business to develop a tentative business plan that explores the possible commercialization of the technology, focusing on medical applications.

"I predict that by the year 2020, that being the year of 'perfect vision,' we will have Holo TV in our homes," said Dr. Michael Huebschman, a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Garner's lab and one of the developers of the technology.

Dr. Garner's holographic video system is based on complex optics principles, s

Contact: Amanda Siegfried
UT Southwestern Medical Center

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