Holographic 3-D looks tantalizingly closer in 2012

Dec 28, 2011 by Nancy Owano report

(PhysOrg.com) -- Applications like holographic TV have long been relegated as the next big thing in the distant future but a Leuven, Belgium-based R&D lab for nanoelectronics has come up with a process that might bring holographic images closer to realtime.

Scientists at Imec believe, as do other researchers, that holographic images are the answer toward resolving the eye strain and headaches that go along with present-day 3-D viewing.

At Imec, their work involves creating moving pixels. They are constructing holographic displays by shining lasers on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) platforms that can move up and down like small, reflective pistons.

“Holographic visualization promises to offer a natural 3-D experience for multiple viewers, without the undesirable side-effects of current 3D stereoscopic visualization (uncomfortable glasses, strained eyes, fatiguing experience),” the company states.

In their nanoscale system, they work with chips made by growing a layer of silicon oxide on to silicon wafer. They etch square patches of the silicon oxide. The result is a checkerboard-like pattern where etched-away pixels are nanometers lower than their neighbors. A reflective aluminum coating tops the chip. When laser light shines on the chip, it bounces off of the boundary between adjacent pixels at an angle. Diffracted light interferes constructively and destructively to create a 3-D picture where small mirrored platforms are moving up and down, many times a second, to create a moving projection. The process can also be described as the pixels closer to the light interfering with it one way and those further off, in another. The small distances between them generate the image that the eye sees.

Imec hopes to construct the first, proof-of-concept moving structures by mid-2012. “Imec's vision is to design the ultimate 3D display: a holographic display with a 60° diffraction angle and a high-definition visual experience,” they state.

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As such, Imec will have lots of company elsewhere in the race to iron out complexities of holographic imaging. According to reports throughout 2011, research teams aim to make the technology more of a reality than a wish-list item for consumers.

The BBC's R&D department has identified the work that broadcasters are doing across Europe, for example, in holographic TV. Engineers are also focused on research into 3-D holoscopy for the Internet and other 3-D applications.

Researchers at MIT this year said they were closing in on holographic TV by building a system with a refresh rate of 15 frames per second. Also earlier this year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) completed a five-year project called “Urban Photonic Sandtable Display” that creates realtime, color, 360-degree 3-D holographic displays.

Explore further: Gaming technology makes its way into headsets for the visually impaired

More information:
via IEEE

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Isaacsname
5 / 5 (1) Dec 28, 2011
I wonder how sensitive to vibrations the MEMS in that kind of system would be ? It doesn't sound like it would take a lot to throw it off.
sstritt
1 / 5 (2) Dec 28, 2011
I wonder how sensitive to vibrations the MEMS in that kind of system would be ? It doesn't sound like it would take a lot to throw it off.

Just a quarter wavelength of movement would destroy the hologram. I'm sure someone has thought of this, but it would seem that sound pressure from a speaker system could easily ruin the picture.
Parsec
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 28, 2011
I wonder how sensitive to vibrations the MEMS in that kind of system would be ? It doesn't sound like it would take a lot to throw it off.

Just a quarter wavelength of movement would destroy the hologram. I'm sure someone has thought of this, but it would seem that sound pressure from a speaker system could easily ruin the picture.

Sounds would not move the reflective pixels relative to each other, just the entire display. The ripples would probably be too fast for anyone to perceive.
Standing Bear
3 / 5 (4) Dec 28, 2011
Darn, guess I will have to wait a while before I can go to a holosuite and see Capt Picard at the bar drinkin with Worf and Duras and Quark while I sit at a table letting Marilyn Monroe give me a lapdance. While I share a marguerita made for two with J-Lo......hey when ya dream, dream big.
Glenn_Lightfoot
4 / 5 (4) Dec 28, 2011
Still, I won't be happy until they can build me a holographic lightsaber, or alternatively make packets of light solid like the holodeck scene in "Star Trek - First contact"
that_guy
4 / 5 (1) Dec 28, 2011
Sounds like a more realistic solution than many of hte other set ups I've seen.
HealingMindN
not rated yet Dec 28, 2011
I wonder how sensitive to vibrations the MEMS in that kind of system would be ?...

Sounds would not move the reflective pixels relative to each other, just the entire display. The ripples would probably be too fast for anyone to perceive.


According to Pessolano's explanation, there would be virtually no interference from an adjacent sound system (nanometer waves vs. millimeter waves) and "not as bright" even at 60% capacity.

On the other hand, I was hoping that Holographic TV would double as a whole body vibrator.
350
1 / 5 (1) Dec 28, 2011
All of these arguments sounds speculative...
mrlewish
not rated yet Dec 28, 2011
Saw the video... in other words... no progress.
jimbo92107
not rated yet Dec 29, 2011
The video didn't add much. I suppose if you combine three colors of laser, that'll do it. But where do you locate the lasers? Must they be directed from in front? Can the lasers be mounted on the MEMS panels themselves? It wasn't explained in the video.
Thane_Rift
not rated yet Dec 30, 2011
How would a hologram make an aircraft carrier appear as a monstrous structure sitting beside you or make the bottom of a chasm appear realistically [and dangerously] far away when standing at the edge of a cliff? 3D can do this and other amazing things right now. Stereoscopic 3D's potential has not been tapped, period.

I have over 500 hours of 3d gaming and I don't get headaches or eyestrain and none of the other hundreds of 3d users in the Nvidia forums do either, so i really don't understand why people insinuate that they go hand-in-hand with 3D. It just takes a bit of getting used to for some people.

The biggest problem with 3D right now is that in games, the world looks as though it has been laid out before you and is jaw-dropping brilliant. Movies only have the depth of a theater stage and on top of that they are not as bright and the clarity of reduced, HD goes hand-in-hand with a good 3d effect. Movie theaters and home setups also need a larger field of view.

Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (3) Dec 31, 2011
"I wonder how sensitive to vibrations the MEMS in that kind of system would be ?" - HoogFlampo

They aren't sensitive at all, and have been used in projection systems for more than a decade. TI produces the chips.
Vendicar_Decarian
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 31, 2011
"I have over 500 hours of 3d gaming " - Thane

Are you sure that that is something you wish to proclaim in public?

You know. Kinda like publicly proclaiming that you have worn your underwear on your head for 500 hours.

Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (3) Dec 31, 2011
The principle failure of holograms is that they only work for monochromatic , phase coherent light.

Hence the solid red color of the example image.

So if you like your movies in monochrome read, green or blue or some other single color laser then you are in luck.

raffi12
not rated yet Jan 01, 2012
That's not true, full color holograms can be produced from a combination of red, green, and blue light.
Isaacsname
5 / 5 (1) Jan 01, 2012
" They aren't sensitive at all, and have been used in projection systems for more than a decade. TI produces the chips. "

~ VindictiveDecorator

Ahh, ok, thanks for clearing that up for me.
Moebius
1 / 5 (2) Jan 01, 2012
The biggest problem with any holographic display is going to be color. I grew up with black and white TV and I wouldn't mind watching a holographic display in B&W but not weird colors like the example. It is going to be a trick to do holography in color I think.

The other problem is that a holographic image has to bounce off something to be seen and almost anything that reflects a holographic image can itself be seen. Like a laser pointer, you can't see the beam unless there is smoke or fog in the air.
Isaacsname
5 / 5 (1) Jan 01, 2012
http://www.youtub...=related

I always thought that had merit.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (3) Jan 01, 2012
"That's not true, full color holograms can be produced from a combination of red, green, and blue light." - Raffie

Ya here is one...

http://www.youtub...=related

Oh wait... It's a fake.

Holograms are such a spectacular failure that people have started to label simple projection systems as holograms.

wiyosaya
5 / 5 (1) Jan 02, 2012
Holograms are such a spectacular failure that people have started to label simple projection systems as holograms.

Personally, I don't think holograms are a failure. That humanity has not advanced the technology is more of what I would consider a failure.
Xbw
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 04, 2012
When I can watch holographic TV suspended above a surface, THEN I will be amazed.

Also I wouldn't mind my own holosuite.

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