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Collaborative Holographic Environments for Networked Tasks

Project description

Networked audiovisual systems and home platforms
Collaborating from a distance in virtual 3-D

New display and networking technologies that allow people to interact with each other in three dimensions could revolutionise the way groups collaborate on business and social projects.

Web- and video-conferencing is already being used widely by many business people, scientists and doctors, among others, to cut down on travel when teams need to collaborate on a project or a job.

However, so far most networked audiovisual communications systems have presented participants to each other in only two dimensions. The lack of a third dimension (3-D) reduces the sense of ‘being there’ and is also an obstacle to virtual interaction with 3-D objects, be it an architectural mock-up, a car part or a medical model.

More natural interaction

A team of European researchers set out to create a sense of this third dimension. Working in the COHERENT project, they developed the first large-scale 3-D holographic display capable of showing true-colour images in high resolution to many people at the same time.

To make interaction even more natural and lifelike, they incorporated gesture recognition technology that allows observers to manipulate 3-D objects by moving their hands in front of the screen.

A ‘digital window’ to interact through

The holographic technology behind the display, developed by Hungarian partner Holografika, works like a digital window. Called HoloVizio, it is able to emit light of different colours and intensities in different directions, mimicking the visual effects that allow a person to view the world in 3-D even when looking through a regular screen.

The technology the project team developed differs from so-called auto-stereoscopic 3-D systems, which involve showing a viewer two slightly different 2-D images – one for the left eye and one for the right eye – that trick the viewer’s brain into fusing them into a single 3-D image.

Such systems only work with individual viewers, making them unsuitable for use when other people need to see the display as well.

Tested with car-makers and doctors

The COHERENT team’s system has been tested in the automotive industry and with medical researchers, both potentially large markets for collaborative 3-D technology and networked audiovisual communication.

Doctors, for example, could use the system to consult with specialists located in another city or even another country, allowing them to study jointly a 3-D representation of a patient’s heart.

Car manufacturers, meanwhile, could use the technology to assist the collaborative work between distributed teams of designers and engineers.

Large and growing market

As travel becomes more expensive and concerns about its environmental impact increase, many sectors of business and society are likely to turn to video conferencing as a way to overcome geographical barriers to collaboration.

The team behind COHERENT also foresees other applications for its technology, such as for next-generation 3-D TV, for digital cinema and for virtual reality representations.

Advances in networked audiovisual communication facilitate the emergence of computer-supported collaborative work (CSCW). In the COHERENT project, six leading European 'organisations provide complementary competencies to create a new networked holographic audio-visual platform to support real-time collaborative 3D interaction between geographically distributed teams. The display component will be based on innovative holographic techniques that can present, at natural human interaction scale, realistic animated 3D images to an unlimited number of freely moving simultaneous viewers. The design of the basic networked audiovisual components'will be driven by two innovative demanding applications - a collaborative medical visualisation system and a collaborative design review system for the automotive industry - that will constitute by themselves an advancement of the state of the art in their specific domains. Both applications will provide intuitive access and interaction with shared 3D models through a sensory rich 3D user interface based on non-intrusive wireless interaction devices and offering 3D audio cues. Research will strongly concentrate on enabling technology for intuitive multi user access and interaction with complex 3D signals and objects. This project proposes to build a working high resolution display in the one metre size range, that, thanks to its'human scale work area, will be ideally suited for multi-user collaborative working in true 3D. The challenge of providing the large visualisation data flow needed to drive such a device will be met using a cost-effective parallel solution based on commercial-off-the-shelf graphics and computing technology. Using GEANT, the pan-European Gigabit Research Network, the project will conduct distributed testing and validation of the system concepts for the two representative application scenarios. The research will be conducted in a 30 month schedule to Guarantee evaluation and demonstration of tangible results

Call for proposal

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Ady endre utica 3/a
1192 Budapest

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Közép-Magyarország Budapest Budapest
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
EU contribution
No data

Participants (6)