Broadening the horizon for 3-D displays
Do you think the latest generation of high-definition LCD and plasma TVs offer the best viewing experience around? Think again. A team of European researchers has developed a display that makes the image jump out of the screen at you.
Working in the Holovision project, the team has created a three-dimensional (3-D) display with unprecedented image resolution and clarity, as well as a much wider field of view than any holographic display previously developed. Best of all, you do not need to wear goofy-looking glasses to view it.
The project partners see 3-D displays as the next evolution in image technology after the high-definition displays that have recently come on to the market. However, they initially expect their technology to be used for professional rather than entertainment purposes.
Virtually boundless applications
Computer-aided design, scientific and architectural modelling and any industry that requires detailed simulations could benefit from the technology. Doctors, for example, could use it to plan for surgery by being able to see 3-D models of body organs. Pilots in training could use the technology to experience far more realistic flight simulations.
The key difference between the display developed in the Holovision project and others built to date is that it enables a large number of people to view it at the same time from different angles.
Most current 3-D display technologies are based on so-called auto-stereoscopic systems that rely on showing the viewer two slightly different two-dimensional images – one for the left eye and one for the right eye. The set up tricks the brain into fusing the images into a single 3-D one.
Such displays have a very limited field of view – about 20 degrees – that prevents the images from being seen by more than one person at a time.
Wider field of view
In contrast, the technology developed by Holovision offers a field of view of about 60 degrees – less than an LCD or plasma screen, but more than enough for group viewing.
To make this achievement, the team developed an innovative light-projection module fast enough to cope with the high frame rates required to produce 3-D images with a wide field of view.
To showcase their technology, the project built a prototype 50-inch, 16:9 aspect ratio screen with more than 125 million pixels capable of displaying 3-D images in high-colour and image resolution.
Ten-fold improvement on existing systems
The screen builds on previous 3-D displays developed by project partner Holografika, based in Hungary and a market leader in 3-D technology. The project partners say the new display is about ten times better than existing systems in almost every respect, including resolution, colour fidelity and update rate.
Another project partner, Britain’s BAE Systems, has developed an application for use with the Holovision display to depict terrain in 3-D.
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Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project
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CM1 1QW Chelmsford
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KY11 5PF Dalgety Bay
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