3D Display Offers Glimpse of Future Media

Nov 10, 2008 by Lisa Zyga weblog
3D display
The 3D display system, developed by researchers at the University of Southern California, uses a spinning mirror to reflect images in all directions. Image credit: Graphics Lab at USC.

(PhysOrg.com) -- The 3D objects in the display box may at first look like a product of smoke-and-mirrors trickery. That impression would be about half right, as a rapidly spinning mirror is one important component of the display.

But the overall 3D display system, developed by researchers at the Graphics Lab at the University of Southern California, is real technology that could one day transform visual entertainment.

The 3D display can project both virtual as well as real images from a recorded movie. The researchers, Professor Paul Debevec and his colleagues, hope that the display´s advantages will overcome many of the challenges faced by 3D technology. For instance, their 3D display is autosterescopic, meaning viewers don´t need to wear special viewing glasses to see the 3D effects. The display is also omnidirectional, so that multiple viewers can watch the display from all directions and heights.

To achieve the high quality, the researchers modified a video projector to project images at more than 4,000 frames per second. Also, the display is interactive, as demonstrated in this video showing a user controlling the 3D human head with a remote control. It can update content at 200 Hz, or 200 times per second.

The video projector projects high-speed video onto the rapidly spinning mirror, and the projector and mirror are synchronized so that, as the mirror turns, it reflects a different image to viewers in all directions.

As the mirror rotates up to 20 times per second, a viewer´s vision creates the illusion of a floating object at the center of the mirror. The image is enclosed in a glass box, to protect anything (such as a hand) from touching the spinning mirrors.

"While flat electronic displays represent a majority of user experiences, it is important to realize that flat surfaces represent only a small portion of our physical world," the team explains on its Web site. "Our real world is made of objects, in all their three-dimensional glory. The next generation of displays will begin to represent the physical world around us, but this progression will not succeed unless it is completely invisible to the user: no special glasses, no fuzzy pictures, and no small viewing zones."

The Graphics Lab has also been involved with creating films, computer animations, and other graphics projects.

More information: 3D Display Research Page

© 2008 PhysOrg.com

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User comments : 14

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PB94941
4.8 / 5 (5) Nov 10, 2008
Imagine that kind of technology on a massive scale, like the size of a cinema screen =D
Palli
4.8 / 5 (6) Nov 10, 2008
Now imagine that cinema screen sized mirror spinning at 20 rounds per second! :D
moj85
4 / 5 (3) Nov 10, 2008
this is pretty old.. i remember seeing this a year ago or so, i believe
earls
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 10, 2008
Palli & moj85: Exactly. "Cool" as in it's a 3D dispaly. "Meh" in all other regards. :(
AlexC
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 10, 2008
This reminds me of the 19th century Zoetrope (spinning wheel animation device). It's an interesting introduction to the possibility of 3D movies, but will not be the actual method by which this will be accomplished.
zevkirsh
5 / 5 (3) Nov 10, 2008
this is kind of old......where this is really going is to the mirror technology. mirrors and optics are extraodinarily complex.

the 3 d image is constrained by the physics governning a spinning mirror. much of the mirrors own limitations are placed on it by its mass. when we find a way to create a near MASSLESS mirror and spin it incredibly fast, than this 3imensional hologram will start becoming much much more amazing and useful.

however, the true ideal would be to have 3mensional matrix of extrememly small (perhaps buckyball sized) spinning mirrors. thus, the 3mensional hologram could move in all dimensions of 3space, instead of just rotating and spinning around the center of a spinning mirror.

Going
4.7 / 5 (3) Nov 10, 2008
Very impressive. Much better than the so called hologram of a live reporter CNN put up on the US election night.
EdMazza
3.5 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2008
This is truly amazing. After being involved in 3D for a number of years, I am truly impressed. I can only imagine that this spinning mirror would be highly expensive as the scale goes up. However, this could be a start to something truly inovative.

As for the hologram shown on CNN on election night. This was just 2D images placed one on top of another. Cool effect, but the 3D technologies coming out today, can offer much much more.
Sirussinder
2 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2008
meh...old...this is years and years old. But better then the CNN tv gimmick "hologram"
holmstar
4 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2008
this is cool, old, but cool as I had not seen a video of it before. I'm sure that this will have valuable applications, but true holographic displays will probably win in the end. IE: A screen on the wall that displays 3D images without glasses.
tkjtkj
4 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2008
This is at least a year old!
mmax
not rated yet Nov 11, 2008
Paul Debevec was my physics advisor and teacher! omg awesome!
mmax
not rated yet Nov 11, 2008
Nevermind, this is a different Paul... I found his picture and it's not him
schultz911
not rated yet Dec 13, 2008
Whoa yeah! Cant wait for this to go out in production scale =)