The future of advertising just got a whole lot more intrusive with this announcement by a group of Japanese researchers working for Aerial Burton. The scientists have created a screenless 3D display that projects images and text into mid-air.
This unholy tech witchcraft works by "firing a 1kHz infrared pulse laser into a 3D scanner, which reflects and focuses the pulses of the laser to specific points in the air. The molecules at that point are ionized, and the energy is released as photons." Basically exactly how you suspected it worked.
Director at Aerial Burton Akira Asano says their motivation for developing it was to help in emergencies, conveying messages projected in mid-air. But you just know advertisers are going to be all over it, projecting adverts for Coca-Cola into our personal space. Or, you know, advertising Jaws 19.
What with this and the hoverboard that was unveiled the other week, those predictions in Back to the Future II are slowly coming to fruition.