May the 4th Be With You: Bill Nye Explains Star Wars Hologram Using Emojis

Monday, 04 May 2015 - 2:43PM
Weird Science
Physics
Monday, 04 May 2015 - 2:43PM
May the 4th Be With You: Bill Nye Explains Star Wars Hologram Using Emojis
In an iconic scene from Star Wars: A New Hope, Luke Skywalker sees Princess Leia for the first time in the form of a hologram: a projected video that appears three-dimensional to the naked eye. Now, in honor of International Star Wars Day, Bill Nye the Science Guy has given a pithy explanation how holograms would work in real life. Accompanied by emojis, naturally.



In the video, which is part of General Electric's Emoji Science initiative, Nye explains that real-life holograms require coherent light, or light from lasers that has all of its waves in perfect synchronization. In the photograph or video itself, two beams of light would need to be approaching the subject from different directions. The beams constructively and destructively interfere with each other in the photograph, and as a result, shining laser light on the photograph causes the light to change direction, meaning you can look at the photograph from different directions and it will appear three-dimensional. 

He goes on to say that we don't have the technology to achieve a Princess Leia-esque 360-degree hologram that you can actually walk around; the holograms that we've achieved are much more primitive, such as the rainbow effects on credit cards. But, he insists, there is nothing in the realm of physics that precludes it from happening, so we may very well be able to send messages like "Help me Obi-Wan, you're my only hope" in the future.

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