Japanese researchers have developed the world`s first 3D TV system where you can touch and feel the images that pop out from the screen.
The technology allows users to manipulate the 3D images, giving them the sensation of moving, squashing or stretching them.
Six motion-detector cameras are used to monitor the viewer`s fingers and tiny clips attached to their index digits vibrate when they `touch` an image. The multiple cameras are angled so that there are no blind spots.
The breakthrough i3Space device was developed by scientists at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan.
A spokesman said: `This system recognizes the user`s behavior and offers tactile feedback and the illusion of using the tactile sense of force.
`It is the first time you can feel images in the air.`
In a demonstration given on Wednesday, a 3D image of the Earth was squished like a soft rubber ball and then stretched wide across the screen.
The team believe i3Space could be useful for surgeons to practice techniques before an operation and also has great potential in gaming. Perhaps one day it could even make a Star Trek-style `holodeck` a reality.
It builds on an interface called the GyroCubeSensuous, which the institute developed back in 2005. This palm-sized device used gyroscopes and rotary force-feedback to simulate the virtual sensations of push, draw and buoyancy.
BDST: 1745 HRS, 28 August 2010