New MIT fiber could be used in 3D displays and fight cancer

Mar 12, 2012
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The braniacs over at MIT have come up with a way to manipulate the way a laser travels through a regular fibre cable, projecting it in any direction as opposed to the regular linear path. The new technology could potentially be used to create a glasses-free 3D experience close to perfection, as well as battle cancer.

Normally a laser is shot through an ordinary piece of fibre, follows the path of the cable, and is received on the other end. MIT have modified their own fibre to include a drop of fluid in the core: when the laser hits the fluid, it is refracted in all possible directions, creating a 360 degree laser beam.

Liquid crystal also comes into play, with four layers being wrapped around the fibre core. Transparency can then be obtained by varying the voltage applied through the layers, and since it can be done on a “pixel” basis, the laser can emerge at any point along the fibre. ExtremeTech explains how the technology could be applied to a 3D display: thanks to the large amount of control over the laser light, viewers could potentially see different images depending on where they’re sitting in relation to the display.

The other application of the technology could be used to fight cancer. Right now, a method called photodynamic therapy is one of the only ways to effectively fight cancer without being invasive or toxic. This new laser could be inserted into the body and give surgeons extremely fine and accurate controls.


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