They are a mainstay of most any science fiction films set in the not-too-distant future and beyond. But our current capabilities of real-life versions fall drastically short, so far.

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Now, Daniel Smalley and colleagues used a tiny glowing particle to paint a 3D image–aka a ‘Princess Leia’ hologram–which unlike regular holograms can be seen from different angles.

The new research published today in Nature might represent one of the greater technological leaps forward to date.