At the Embedded Systems Expo (ESEC), Pioneer demonstrated its floating image display technology for embedded systems. Pioneer's Floating Vision technology displays images as if a mini-sized version of a given object were in front of you.
The company also uses infrared sensors to trick the user into feeling as if they had touched the floating image. DigInfo TV has a video of the technology being implemented in a car navigation system:
For the car navigation system demo, the Floating Vision display is used in conjunction with multiple touch panel displays. When you select an object on the touch panel and then swipe your hand over it on the Floating Vision display, the objects (such as parking or restaurant icons) are displayed across the map. This is not the most practical scenario for the technology, but it definitely shows its potential. More complicated gestures for interacting with the actual hologram are probably not that far off.
"The 3D module has a LCD module on the back, and we bring our special 3D lens in front of that so that image formation is at the place where it appears to be floating in space," a Pioneer spokesperson said at ESEC. "It looks as if you are looking at the real thing, so it can be seen clearly and sharply, unlike the typical system using the right and left eye perspectives. Many people are surprised because the image appears to float before their own eyes so clearly and sharply. The feeling of operating that image is really interesting, and we think that it will be embedded for use in a lot of different types of equipment."
While the effect is certainly cool, this is still very clearly the early beginnings of such a new system. I personally would love to see somebody pair it with Microsoft's Kinect motion controller. This isn't as farfetched as you may think: Pioneer plans to offer the integrated module to companies that have ideas which make use of new types of user interfaces.
I'm not a fan of the current 3D technology that is being pushed on consumers. That being said, when it evolves into detailed holograms, and especially ones we can interact with, you can definitely sign me up.