Holographic 3D TV becomes a real possibility

3D television and CAD displays that require no wearing of glasses, or sitting in a special place, has already been demonstrated, but require a hefty amount of data bandwidth and computing power to make them work, not to mention multiple cameras to gather visual data, although this would not be a problem with CAD or creating virtual reality.

The technology is based on holography, and has been pioneered by two EU programmes, HOLOVISION, which ended last year, and OSIRIS, coordinated by Thomson, which concludes at the end of this year. Ákos Demeter of Holografika explained that in Holovision, "We basically organised projection engines in a special way and used holographic imaging film for the display screen. The combination of these, with the projection engines being driven by a cluster of nine high-end PCs, and new sophisticated software, allowed us to achieve our aims," those aims being to produce a very high-resolution 3D image. Holografika, interestingly is based in Budapest – the birthplace of Denis Gabor who invented holography – and is a partner in both projects The prototype system had a resolution of 100Mpixel – around 10 times that of HDTV – at 25 frames a second in six colours, rather than the standard RGB (red, green, blue). The researchers were able to increase the resolution three fold to virtually 300Mpixel by using greyscales instead of colours. A major aim of Osiris is to develop high-resolution, big screen, reflective projection 3D cinema. The prototype under development has a wall-mounted 1.7m x 3m screen, with the projector on the ceiling. In Holovision, the images were back-projected which meant a very unwieldy display system that was 35 inches deep. In Osiris, using a complex system of mirrors and light sources to provide the re-projected images, the screen display will only have a depth of between 15 and 20 inches to give a much less bulky and more modern look. "Military combat training is one potential application, replacing the current 2D projection technology with 3D projections for a much more lifelike experience," says Zsuzsa Dobranyi, Sales Director at Holografika. In addition, the Osiris partners are in discussions with a "Market-leading company" to develop a 3D golf gaming system, which may be available in about a year. A 3D camera system is being developed using plenoptic camera technology. The system uses multiple cameras to capture sufficiently large field-of-view 3D content for Osiris' 3D displays, offering better 3D visibility and freedom than the existing stereo cameras.