A team of researchers has created holograms that users can actually feel, which very well may be the first step towards StarTrek-level technology.
The team of researchers is from the University of Glasgow, and according to a report by researcher Ravinder Daahiya written in The Conversation, the team uses a technology called "aerohaptics". So, how does it work? Users of the hologram are blasted with jets of air, or "aerohaptics," which simulate the sensation of touch on people's fingers, hands, and wrists.
Daahiya explains that the team of researchers tested the jets of air with an interactive projection of a basketball. Daahiya says that the system provided the appropriate amount of simulated weight to the basketball, causing the overall experience to be quite convincing. Daahiya wrote, "Those jets of air deliver a sensation of touch on people's fingers, hands, and wrists."
"In time, this could be developed to allow you to meet a virtual avatar of a colleague on the other side of the world and really feel their handshake. It could even be the first steps towards building something like a holodeck."
Adding, "The touch feedback from air jets from the system is also modulated based on the virtual surface of the basketball, allowing users to feel the rounded shape of the ball as it rolls from their fingertips when they bounce it and the slap in their palm when it returns."
Now that "touch" has been achieved, the team is moving towards enabling the sensation of temperature by modifying the system so the jets of air can be hot/cold, depending on the surface/object the user is touching. Additionally, the team is considering how scents can be added to the jets of air. For more information on this story, check out this link here.