Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed bubbles that can act as small projection screens.

The bubbles are based on colloidal liquids, creating a thin film that allows light to create a reflection on one section before passing through other sections. The Japanese researchers have found that if the reflection can be controlled then the bubble can be used as a projection surface.

Tech magazine, Gizmag, spoke to the project’s lead researcher, Yoichi Ochiai, who said that they have used a small projector and ultrasonic speakers to control the transparency and texture of the membrane, which can enhance the quality of the projection and create realistic, distinctive and vivid images.

Ochiai explained, “This system contributes to open up a new path for display engineering with sharp imageries, transparency, [Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function] and flexibility.”

The ingredients used to create the finely-controlled bubble include sugar, glycerin, soap, surfactant, water and milk. The combination of these substances creates a bubble that cannot be easily broken, with even solid objects able to pass through it without bursting it.

The developers have said it has the potential to be used by visual artists, as well as in museum and even in avant-garde video shows.