Step aside, fancy 3D HDTVs with your expensive "shutter glasses"--new breakthroughs in holographic 3D technology mean that we could see real, glasses-free 3D TVs in the next seven to ten years.
Previously, the only thing (okay, one of the only things) that was stopping us from sending Princess Leia-type messages across the universe in an R2D2 was the fact that we couldn't make holograms with refresh rates quick enough to convey movement. Well, that's changed--a research team at the University of Arizona has developed a system that can render an image in near real-time and update the image every two seconds, which is pretty darn close to real-time (well…considering).
In 2008, the same team presented an updateable holographic 3D display that was capable of recording and displaying images every few minutes. The display could then last for several hours without needing to be refreshed, but was sensitive to ambient noise (vibration and air turbulance), as well as thermal expansion, and so needed to be fully enclosed on an air damped optical table.
The new technology features a quicker refresh rate (two seconds) and thus no longer needs to last for several hours without refresh. (read more)