A screen out of thin air

I stumbled across a piece about a company that has developed technology that allows users to project images onto a stream of cooled air, creating a hovering, 2-D image that looks a little like something out of Star Wars.

The Heliodisplays are made by San Francisco-based IO2 Technology, and it is like a miniature version of those fog screens you my have seen at trade shows – a big apparatus that shoots fog down in a gateway area that is thick enough to project an image on to it.

The inventor won’t say quite what is going on with the Heliodisplay, but it looks like a sheet of water vapor shooting up from a box immediately below. The image quality looks pretty good, but this is technology that is far from ready for prime-time. For one thing, a 30″ 4:3 aspect ratio screen — just one — costs more than $18K US.

For $18K I can get a hell of a lot of bright, crisp LCDs. But down the road, as the projection area gets bigger and the costs drop, this might be a cool application in the right environment.

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