“Star Trek: The Next Generation” has long been established as among scientists and inventors alike as one of the most influential television series. The original Star Trek series predicted flip-phones, and, much like its predecessor, TNG predicted tablet and voice interface computers, hyposprays, and a long list of other once seemingly impossible inventions that have since wormed their way into our everyday lives.

There are, however, a few Star Trek technologies that still seem a few centuries away: warp drives, transporters, and the holodeck are usually seen as good examples of far-flung tech we won’t be seeing anytime soon.

But that may now longer actually be the case when it comes to the holodeck.

Researchers at the University of Sussex have developed a new kind of animated hologram that isn’t only visible from certain angles, like today’s existing hologram technology, but rather appears to occupy a three-dimensional space right before your eyes. It gets even crazier than that though: these holograms can be heard, and under the right conditions, even felt.

The researchers were able to accomplish this by using an actual physical object (in this case, a lightweight polystyrene bead measuring two millimeters in diameter) that is levitated and manipulated in mid-air by two arrays of ultrasonic transducers that create sound waves. That motion, combined with projected RGB lights, creates the illusion of a three-dimensional image.

Obviously this technology is still a long way away from manifesting fictional Sherlock Holmes villains for you to square off against; but as a proof of concept this system is extremely promising.

Such a technology would have obvious defense implications: it could be used to create highly effective camouflage; to give the illusion of a military presence where there isn’t one; or for highly advanced video teleconferencing.