The technology savants in Japan are at it again. This time, they're working on a fully holographic television that would enable viewers to not only
view images in 3D, but also to smell and feel the locations on the television. The Japanese are promoting this concept as "Universal Communication"
in which viewers would be able to see and experience the world regardless of location of language.
While companies, universities and research institutes around the world have made some progress on reproducing 3D images suitable for TV, developing
the technologies to create the sensations of touch and smell could prove the most challenging, Takeuchi said in an interview with Reuters.
Researchers are looking into ultrasound, electric stimulation and wind pressure as potential technologies for touch.
Such a TV would have a wide range of potential uses.
It could be used in home-shopping programs, allowing viewers to "feel" a handbag before placing their order, or in the medical industry, enabling
doctors to view or even perform simulated surgery on 3D images of someone's heart.
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This would certainly be a welcome advance in media technology. Long has something of this nature been one of the defining concepts in sci-fi, and a
television like this could help to demonstrate that there really are no limits to the creativity of the human mind.
One thing that I can forsee as being a possible problem is, depending on the means of sensory stimulation used to communicate touch and smell, there
could be potential for injuries or possibly even death. If the images are real enough to make a viewer believe he is actually there, then what's to
say that the holographic bullet that just hit him in the chest, that he felt as though it were real, wouldn't actually convince his mind of real
damage, and thus go into a state of shock?
I'm sure safeguards such as these are being looked into, and there's plenty of time for development (15 years until the scheduled release date).
Very cool technology, though, and one I would love to experience.