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Holograms help protect Super Bowl

No longer just the stuff of science fiction, 3D images could help in the spotting of terrorists, says new company.

The U.S. government will deploy a new "Star Wars-like" hologram technology to help safeguard the Super Bowl on Sunday.

As agents for Homeland Security monitor the dozens of security cameras mounted in Detroit's Ford Field, they'll see the images in three dimensions, according to James Fischbach, CEO of Intrepid Defense & Security Systems, the company that developed the LifeVision3D system.

Holograms help authorities see images more clearly, Fischbach said.

LifeVision will be used to search sidewalks, monitor faces in the enormous Super Bowl crowd and peer under vehicles.

Holograms are favorites of science-fiction filmmakers. Perhaps the best known is the hologram of Princess Leia that the android R2-D2 projected in the film "Star Wars." Today, simple holograms are internal, and are used on credit cards and children's stickers, in numerous industrial applications and sometimes even in the fine arts.

But LifeVision's images are of the more complex "Star Wars" variety, said Fischbach, who founded his company at the request of the Department of Defense. Before moving into holograms, Fischbach was behind the launch of fiber-optics company Intrepid World Communications, in 1992.

LifeVision uses streams from two cameras, which act as the left and right eyes, to project 3D images onto a 20-inch screen. The monitors used are equipped with a depth tube that presents images that appear to rise 30 inches from the screen and sink another 30 inches into the screen, Fischbach said. Real-world volumes and distances are displayed accurately.

No special goggles or glasses are needed.

"For the military, it can offer much better facial recognition," Fischbach said. "Instead of looking at a two-dimensional photo, you're looking at an entire head."

Fischbach says LifeVision can help surgeons peer into the human body with much more accuracy. He's helped hone the talents of Nascar drivers by creating racing simulations and is in talks with an entertainment company to present a hologram of a rock concert inside a department store.

So how long before the public can send holograms like the one sent by Princess Leia?

"If George Lucas had four cameras on her when he shot it, I could take them and present a real-world image of her right now," Fischbach said.