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3-D displays and auto-stereoscopic technology

Almost everyone has seen, or heard of, 3D television shows or theme park attractions. Unfortunately you've had to wear special glasses to experience these three dimensional images. Not anymore. Companies are developing display technologies that remove the need for glasses.

Large Displays

4D-Vision GmbH

Click here to enlarge the image

4D-Vision markets 15" and 50" displays. The 15" display uses an LCD and the 50" display uses a plasma screen. Like most of the other companies they have a unique approach to displaying glasses free 3D images.

Below is a description of 4D-Vision's technology from their US partners Dynamic Digital Depth (DDD).

"Standard flat panel LCD and plasma displays ranging in size from 15 inches to 50 inches are fitted with a wavelength optical filter. The filter, designed by 4D-Vision of Germany, works by deflecting light from the screen according to its color. Red, green and blue light is deflected in different directions to create left and right eye views in eight adjacent viewing plains. The result is a wide angle, multi-viewer, 'no glasses' 3D display."

For more information about the technology and content requirements visit 4D-Vision's product section or read this one page Acrobat .pdf document.

Dimensional Media Associates (DMA)

Since this section was written DMA has changed their name to VIZTA3D and the HDVD products discussed here are now sold by a subsidiary named DMA Glassworks. VIZTA3D's web site does not contain a working link to DMA Glassworks and it appears that the only way to contact DMA Glassworks is by phone. Alan Sullivan, the former Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of VIZTA3D/DMA, is now the CEO of LightSpace Technologies, Inc., but it is unknown if any of the technologies transferred companies along with the CTO. This section will be updated when more information is available.

Dimensional Media Associates (DMA) High Definition Volumetric Display (HDVD) technology is hard to classify because they target just about every application you can think of.

DMA has some examples of possible applications on their web site, but here is one example we came up with. If you've ever been to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida you'll know what we're talking about. For those of you who haven't been it shouldn't be hard to follow along.

At one point on the haunted house ride you look into a mirror and it seems like a ghost is sitting next to you on the ride. But, when you actually look at the seat there is no ghost. If HDVD was in some way implemented into the seat you'd not only see the ghost in the mirror, but it would actually be sitting next to you.

This specific example is probably a little ways off, but it seems that a lot of terrific stuff can already be displayed. Here is one example quoted directly from DMA's web site.

"DMA's floating-image 3-D projection system, is the basis for an exhibit, called Hologlobe, displayed last year at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Installed as part of that organization's 150th anniversary celebration, the exhibit is the largest application of HDVD technology to date, creating a four-foot, 3-D image of the Earth that hangs in midair."

View a picture of the HoloGlobe.

Philips

Update April 2009: Apparently Philips is pulling the plug on their 3D television products and the 3D Solutions division.

Philips calls the technology behind their 42" high definition display "slanted multi-view lenticular lens." What this means is multiple viewers can see the three dimensional effect simultaneously without wearing glasses. Philips also offers some desktop sized LCDs.

Provision Interactive

When many people think of 3D displays they think of Princess Leia's message in Star Wars. In a Flash demo at their site Provision Interactive claims this three dimensional projector has arrived. Here's a quote from their web site.

"Provision displays project three dimensional digital video images out into space detached from any screen, rendering truly independent floating images featuring high definition and crisp visibility from distances up to 100 ft and up to 60° viewing angles."

Vizoo Cheoptics360

This large format display looks very impressive in videos. If it works as well in real world situations Vizoo has a hit on their hands. The technology is claimed to work inside and outside. Here's a quote about how the technology works.

Cheoptics360™ is a four-sided pyramid manufactured of transparent material so the audience can see through it from every side. Inside the pyramid chamber the audience can see objects that seem to be freely floating video images and computer graphics. This is done through surface mirroring and reflections. The pyramid itself is used as a kind of prism that assembles light from four video projections into a solid image.

“We simply use physical space to create a three dimensional feeling of reality as though the object was actually present in the space. In future, using this technique physical space itself will create 3D depth,” says Peter Simonsen.

Ramboll is a co-developer of Cheoptics360.

Business

  • High Resolution 3D Stereoscopic LCD Projectors will allow presenters to more accurately show their audience how a design works. Models that use polarized glasses are already available from companies like VRex. The ultimate in cool would be an autostereoscopic projector, like R2D2 uses in Star Wars® to display a message from Princess Leia. The closest thing to this is DMA's HDVD, but they don't currently have a small, projector size device.
  • If you're business has a lot of money and needs the ultimate in display technology try Fakespace's Immersive WorkWall. It's supports a screen size of up to 8 by 24 feet and is viewable by 40 people. The large size makes the system capable of displaying full scale models of many products, including cars. At near $200,000 it isn't cheap.

    On May 29, 2003 Fakespace announced their new 1600x1200 stereoscopic projection technology. You can read about it here.

Gaming

  • The gaming industry has driven consumer interest in 3D graphics so it is surprising that no companies are making 3D displays for arcade systems.
  • The difference in graphics quality between arcade games and consoles has narrowed over the years, but three dimensional displays could once again give arcade games an edge over console systems.

Related Technology

Dynamic Digital Depth (DDD) has developed technologies that provide ground-breaking improvements in content conversion and transmission for 3D displays. Images and videos that were originally shot with normal 2D cameras can be converted to 3D images that show depth when viewed on a stereo display. This technology, called Dynamic Depth CueingT (DDC), forms the nucleus of DDD's ability to encode, decode and display 2D compatible 3D content and is the basis of 18 patents in 47 countries.

Desktop DisplaysDisplay Links

 

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