Back To The Future Day takes place on 21 October. It is the day Marty McFly travelled to and from 1985 in Part 2 of the iconic 80s blockbuster series, and the tech world has taken great pleasure in seeing how the reality of tech in 2015 compares to the techno-wizardry of fiction.
The list of tech predictions that actually came true is surprisingly long. Hoverboards, self-tying shoes and video chat all became reality, and now large, glasses-free holographic 3D projections can be added to the list as well.
TU Wien and TriLite Technologies have been developing prototypes for such a display, which use special micro-optics and micro mirrors to project different pictures in different directions (via EurekAlert). Each 3D pixel – called a trixel – is made up of a moveable mirror that directs a laser across a person's field of vision from left to right. During the movement the image changes, sending a different picture to each of the viewer's eyes and creating a 3D effect.
And that was just the first prototype. The second can display full colour images by equipping each trixel with a red, green and blue laser. Each module is 2 x 9 trixels and be used in tandem with other modules to create larger displays.
"The basic technology was invented by TriLite Technologies in 2011," explains TriLite Technologies CTO Franz Fidler. "At TU Wien, three research institutes worked on different tasks, such as steering the trixels and optimising the connection between them. The technology is now ready for the market, and we are looking for partners for mass production all over the world."
Jörg Reitterer, a PhD student working at TriLite Technologies adds: "The software for controlling the modules and displaying movies has already been developed...We can use any off-the-shelf 3D movie and play it on our display."
The news comes after Universal put together a fake promotion for Jaws 19, the movie depicted in Back To The Future: Part 2, with a huge outdoor 3D display of a shark. So, that's holographic displays chalked off the Back To The Future Day list, now where are we on those flying cars?