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Living in the world of Augmented Reality

Many of us will remember the tidal wave of Pokemon Go craze that swept across a couple of years ago. The Augmented Reality (AR) mobile game uses the GPS from mobile device to locate, capture, battle and train virtual creatures. Now, imagine if you could enhance the gaming experience with 3D holographic images?

“Gamers have long wanted to experience gaming in 3D rather than use a flat screen. The bottleneck has been the low resolution from the devices we currently have,” explains Dr Arseniy Kuznetsov. He is a senior scientist at A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering and the Head of Advanced Concept and Nanotechnology Department.

His current research mission is to create nanoantennas that can project 3D animations in high definition. “Currently, all our projection screens, like the screen of your smartphone, are using conventional optical or glass based components,” Dr Kuznetsov explains.

Research done by Dr Kuznetsov and his team is set to revolutionise that by using antennas instead. These nanoantennas are several hundred times smaller than the diameter of human hair. “These tiny microscopic antennas will make it possible to project life-like 3D images that will be so sharp that the pixels won’t be visible by eye,” explains Dr Kuznetsov.

All of this will transform the way we interact, as it will change the way we receive information and view images on the screens of our electronic devices. This technology could be used in the future devices like the smartphone to deliver a holographic experience. “Imagine a scenario where rather than just a video call, you can actually have a 3D holograph of a person during the call. That would be such a vivid call experience!” he says.

Applications of these 3D holographic technologies will go way beyond of just gaming or mobile phones. They are expected to significantly transform the fields of Engineering & Design, Manufacturing, Medicine, Education and many more. These technologies will completely change the ways we receive and interact with information at home and at workplace.

The Optics of 3D Change

Dr Kuznetsov’s research is expected to benefit current work in a number of areas, including virtual and augmented reality and 3D holographic displays. The most dramatic impact is likely to be on mobile devices. “We expect the technology to be commercialised and widely available in the next five to eight years. These new technologies will completely change the ways we receive and interact with information at home and at workplace.” Dr Kuznetsov predicts.

Currently, the scientists in the team are developing the first prototype of a projector with these nanoantennas that will have very small pixel size. This first projector is likely to be ready in the next two years.

There are several other practical uses Dr Kuznetsov sees of the revolutionary breakthrough research conducted by the team. “We expect the first wave of change to come from industrial users. Factories and shop floors are likely to benefit the most as their engineers will be able to see the actual 3D composition of the sophisticated machines using advanced holographic projections,” he says.

That is not all. The technology may have great application in the field of medical science too. “With nanoantennas, medical imaging systems will allow surgeons to view and interact with a patient’s tissues and organs in a 3D form. The possibilities in diagnosing and treating patients will be countless,” Dr Kuznetsov adds.

With such limitless applications, these nanoantennas are sure to change the world around us. Are you ready for the change?

Dr Arseniy Kuznetsov
Dr Arseniy Kuznetsov graduated from Nizhniy Novgorod State University (Russia) in 2002. He received his PhD in Processes Engineering from University Paris 13 (France) in 2005 and in Laser Physics from Institute of Applied Physics RAS (Russia) in 2006. Since 2007 till 2011 he worked at the Laser Zentrum Hannover (Germany) as a Humboldt Research Fellow. Since October 2011 he has been working in A*STAR, Singapore first in the Data Storage Institute and now in the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering. He is currently appointed as Senior Scientist, Manager of Dielectric Nanoantennas Programme and Head of Advanced Concept and Nanotechnology Department. Current activities of his group are devoted to the development of novel nanodevices based on dielectric nanoantennas and metasurfaces. He is an author of over 50 journal papers and a co-inventor of 10 filed patent applications. He is the recipient of 2016 IET A F Harvey Engineering Research Prize for his pioneering research on optically resonant dielectric nanostructures and dielectric nanoantennas.