A new device developed by Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology uses lasers to project "real" 3D images into the ether. A special projector can cast three-dimensional shapes of white light between 2 and 3-meters into the air -- previous devices only tricked the eyes into thinking the image was 3D. The images are created by blasting the nitrogen and oxygen in the air at fixed points resulting in glowing plasma emissions which hang-out just long enough to etch an ephemeral image. The 3D images are, gulp, accompanied by a series of satisfying "tiny explosions" from the expanding air. With improved lasers, scientists say they'll be capable of projecting images at greater distances with more color variation making the device suitable for pyrotechnics or outdoor advertising. Sure that can, but we also hope to see 3D replacements to those child-hating balloons at the Macy's parade -- complete with what must be massive explosions at that scale to drown out any obligatory marching band shrill. Then we might actually pay attention.

[Via Pink Tentacle, Thanks Ed]

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