TOKYO, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Researchers in Japan have invented a new laser technology called "Fairy Lights." By shooting tiny laser pulses at super-fast speeds, scientists at Utsunomiya University Center for Optical Research and Education have created touchable holograms.
Femtosecond laser technology blasts laser pulses that last just one millionth of one billionth of a second -- one quadrillionth of a second. But the pulses are fired in succession at such a high frequency that they appear like a constant beam.
The midair hologram created by the laser technology can be touched and manipulated. The hologram's shape can respond to human touch. Right now, the touchable holograms are rather small, but scientists believe their work is scalable.
"People's daily lives would change if we use a bigger laser in a bigger space where people can interact with it, and to see how it can be used in situations where three-dimensional communication is necessary such as a construction site or in the medical field," lead researcher Yoichi Ochiai, a scientists at Tsukuba University, told the magazine Ignition.
One of the potential applications of the new technology is an interactive, holographic keyboard, emitted from a computer onto a user's lap. Fairy Lights also have potential uses in virtual gaming and virtual reality.