[Hiroyuki Shinoda, Professor, Tokyo University]: "Up until now, holography has been for the eyes only, and if you'd try to touch it, your hand would go right through. But now we have a technology that also adds the sensation of touch to holograms."
The technology consists of software that uses ultrasonic waves to create pressure on the hand of a user touching the projected hologram.
Researchers are using two Wiimotes from Nintendos Wii gaming system to track a users hand.
The technology was introduced at SIGGRAPH, an annual computer graphics conference, and has so far only been tested with relatively simple objects.
But its inventors have big plans for touchable holograms in the future.
[Hiroyuki Shinoda, Professor, Tokyo University]: "For example, it's been shown that in hospitals, there can be contamination between people due to objects that are touched communally. But if you can change the switches and such into a virtual switch, then you no longer have worry about touch contamination. This is one application that's quite easy to see."
Touchable holograms could be used for a wide variety of things... everything from light switches to books with each appearing when needed, and then disappearing when not.
And holograms could replace the need for making new interfaces for technology, since they could be changed without having to make a new physical product.