I don’t know if this is the exact question researchers posed when they started out, but …
A group of innovators from Hewlett Packard Labs, 3M and University of California Santa Cruz is developing a new kind of paper for photo printing using something called specular micro-geometry. The paper looks flat, but it actually has tiny hills and valleys.
Why the hills and valleys? Imagine a statue in a lush garden. Now, think how that statue would change as you watched the sun pass overhead in time-lapse photography. That’s kind of what this is like.
A flat photo becomes three-dimensional in the way it reflect lights. The image printed on this new paper casts shadows. In essence, it looks real. So get your specular micro-geometry on and watch this video. A picture is worth a thousand words.