Sunday, November 7, 2010

Holograms! and more Spider-Man casting

In casting news for the new Spider-Man reboot, Martin Sheen is in final negotiations for the part of Uncle Ben, while Sally Field is in talks to play Aunt May (Cinematical). Already cast are Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, and Rhys Ifans as villain The Lizard. Mary Jane will not be making an appearance in the new movie (EOnline).

As usual, I'm excited by news related to science-fiction technologies becoming simply science. Scientists at the University of Arizona are working on developing holograms--a la "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."--and they're making impressive progress, publishing an article in scientific journal Nature (AZ Daily Star). Recent developments in 3D technology may have eliminated the need for 3D glasses (I am currently only aware of it working on smallish screens, but presumably it could be expanded to larger screens as well), provided that the viewer stands within a certain range from the screen, but this takes it a big step further. Images are in "full parallax", so you can actually see more of an object by moving around; for instance, moving to the right of a head facing forward allows you to see the left side of the head; moving up lets you see the top of the head. Now that is immersion. To create this effect, 16 cameras are used to record an image from all sides. The image requires a screen to appear (so it's not quite like R2-D2's projection of Princess Leia), but because of the true, full 3D images, the screen could be horizontal or vertical. The main problem with the current technology as I see it is that at present, the images can only refresh every 2 seconds. But that's still a huge improvement over three years ago, when the images required minutes to change. It shouldn't be too long before they have the images refreshing fast enough to trick us into seeing movement. Also, three years ago the holograms were in only one color, and now they have three colors.

The project is being pursued simply as a research project, without application as a main focus. But one could definitely imagine such technology being put to use in hospitals (3D brain images?), war rooms (3D battle plans), and video conferencing. And of course in entertainment. Movies and video games could find ways to use the impressive immersion of the hologram. Principle investigator Nasser Peyghambarian predicts that the technology in some form could be available to some customers in five to ten years. I can't wait.


On a personal note, I have a fellowship application due in the next couple weeks, I have a ton of progress I need to make on my schoolwork, and there's a lot going on with my family life at the moment (grandmother here in Honolulu is sick, my mom is coming out in a week and a half to visit), so basically I'm pretty busy right now. I may not be posting much in the next several weeks. But I'll still be around. Catch you later.


Hezabelle said...

I'm so excited for Emma Stone! She's great!

I hope everything goes okay with your family and your application!

Eleni said...

I thought she was great in Zombieland and Superbad. She's more interesting as an actress than your average bland young pretty face (e.g. Megan Fox), and she's funny. I hope the movie uses these actors well!

Thanks. I hope so, too. I can't wait until winter break.

Holly said...

The Illusive Man as uncle ben?! lol

Eleni said...

Haha, yup! "Peter, you are unique. Not just in ability or what you've experienced, but what you represent. But remember, with great power comes great responsibility." Or some such.