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Remember that scene in Star Wars when Princess Leia communicates via a holographic fog? After years as a geek fantasy, a real world version of this gizmo is finally coming to life. It comes from Chad Dyner, a 29-year-old MIT student who invented the Heliodisplay: a device which projects real-time streaming video images into thin air. Compatible with TV, DVD, VCRs, or computers, the Heliodisplay out-smarts George Lucas’ holographic fantasy by being interactive - modified air in front of the project creates what Dyner callas a “virtual touchscreen.” Imagine the applications in multiplayer gaming and videoconferencing. Reaching out and touching someone just got a lot more interesting.

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