That atomic rubidium vapor you’ve been storing in those old canning jars may soon be put to good use as a storage medium for images which, in turn, could allow 3D data storage, display and possibly manipulation.
A group of physicists from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel… yeah, that place, warmed up some of that naturally occurring isotope, added some light pulses, shifted some phases and got an image to stick for about 30 microseconds. That’s… not long, but hey it’s progress.
Possibility of 3D in vapor?
You add some fancy lasers to provide some volumetric recognition, a couple light sources with different wavelengths and a bit of IR feedback to a control device and you’re pretty much there. A couple million in funding wouldn’t hurt either. The next step beyond this could even be using water vapor as a 3D display medium.
This may not seem all to practical, but it’s one avenue of data visualization research that could make the display technology we actually would use in the near future more likely. 3D holographic displays would be a perfect transition for the display of 3D data via water or gas vapor. The trick is taking it from static to dynamic.