Melbourne, July 14 : You may soon be able to hold a three-dimensional image of your loved ones in the palms of your hands, if Japanese experts have their way.
Scientists at Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology reckon that a gadget they call 'gCubik' may make it possible within three years.
The researchers say that the device, still at prototype stage, will be developed to move in real time and appear to speak.
"The ultimate image we have in mind is having a small person in your palm," News.com.au quoted Shunsuke Yoshida, a researcher associated with the project, as saying at a recent gathering of imaging researchers in Tokyo.
"Suppose you have a picture of your girlfriend smiling on your desk. She could be smiling as a 3D image in a cube," he added.
He said that grandparents could use the device, which comes in a 10cm cube, to see a 3-D image of a distant grandchild.
He also said that businessmen could view prototypes from afar, and school teachers could use it in science classes.
Yoshida revealed that efforts were underway to cause the still image the device had to move in real times.
He said that the gCubik could be seen from three sides, unlike conventional 3-D displays that are viewed only from the front.
He even said that users would not require glasses to see the benefits, another advantage over conventional 3-D displays.
Yoshida said that his team was trying to improve the picture quality of the device, and to get rid of cords attached to the cube so that the box could be made viewable from all six sides.
He hopes that the work would be complete within about three years.
He and his colleagues also have plans to incorporate provisions to give vocal sounds to the 3D image in the future, making it appear as if the person in the cube is speaking.