23 March 2012

360-degree above-table (or “Deathstar”) displays

Group discussion and collaboration would be enhanced by 3-D displays that produce imagery appearing to hover above, say, a tabletop. Visible 360° around the device, the imagery would occupy the volume straddling the flat surface of the table – appearing just slightly above, and quite a bit beneath.

At Actuality, we jokingly called these contraptions “Deathstar Displays,” after the Star Wars movies depicting hologram-ish imagery of the Deathstar for battle planning. More seriously, I dubbed them Theta Parallax Only (TPO) displays, as opposed to horizontal parallax only (HPO) displays, because the perspective changes as your angle (theta) to some vertical reference plane changes.

(New to 3-D? Mike Halle’s “Autostereoscopic Displays and Computer Graphics” wonderfully explains the physical limitations of where the imagery can appear to be before incurring window violations.)

Who’s working on this stuff?

An early patent from Actuality

Well, yours truly and my former co-worker Ollie Cossairt invented a few schemes in which a high-frame-rate image source directs imagery to an optical element, spinning like a turntable, that redirects the frames in an angular sweep around the audience. The optical element could take various forms: an off-axis lens, a diffuser-louver “sandwich,” etc.
G. E. Favalora and O. S. Cossairt, “Theta-parallax-only (TPO) displays,” US Pat 7,364,300 (Provisional: Jan. 12, 2004), (Filing: Jan. 12, 2005), (Issue: Apr 29, 2008). [Google Patents]
Conceptual animation of US 7,364,300 (no longer owned by Optics for Hire)
One of the cross-sections shown in the patent is:

A number of researchers have been building TPO displays, primarily (to my knowledge) in Asia.

[Edit (2015): In retrospect, I wonder if we should have used the term, "peristrophic" display rather than "theta-parallax-only."]

Takaki Lab (Tokyo Univ. of Agriculture and Technology)

The Takaki Lab has a heritage of producing many interesting 3-D displays. Recently, they demonstrated a multi-projector system that illuminates a rotating surface. I am having a little trouble determining when their research began. But a recent paper is:
Shigeki Uchida and Yasuhiro Takaki, “360-degree three-dimensional table-screen display using small array of high-speed projectors,” in Stereoscopic Displays and Applications XXIII, edited by Andrew J. Woods, Nicolas S. Holliman, Gregg E. Favalora, Proceedings of SPIE-IS&T Electronic Imaging, SPIE Vol. 8288, 82880D (2012); http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.909603
Regrettably I cannot find videos or images of their work on their fascinating Takaki Laboratory web page.
By the way, I recommend Dr. Takaki’s excellent presentation, “Next-generation and ultimate 3D display” (IMID 2010) [pdf].

HolyMine “Holo Table”

I don’t remember how I stumbled across this company:
HolyMine “Holo Table”–start at 1:16

NICT – Conical diffuser: “fVisiOn”

Here is a different approach, using a conical diffuser. This is Shunsuke Yoshida of NICT’s Universal Media Research Center. Here is a link to the English page, which links to a more frequently updated Japanese page.
Video of fVisiOn (technical explanation towards end)
The project page has a list of related publications toward the end.

[Edit (2015): Another YouTube clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10J_Q3QBfdg ]

Microsoft Research Cambridge – Vermeer

The Vermeer system is a bit different; it incorporates re-imaging optics, and can also behave in an interesting dual mode of image-capture:
Microsoft “Vermeer” 3-D display

Zhejiang University (China)

Several people at Zhejiang Univ. are pursuing 360-degree displays, including Xu Liu and Zheng Zhenrong.
Xinxing Xia, Caijie Yan, Zhenrong Zheng, Haifeng Li, and Xu Liu, “48.3: A Novel Touchable Floating Color Omnidirectional-view Three-dimensional Display,” SID Symposium Digest of Technical Papers, 42(1) 699-701 (June 2011). http://dx.doi.org/10.1889/1.3621420
They have also built systems with “optics above the table,” i.e. similar in spirit to those from Actuality or USC:
Xinxing Xia, Zhenrong Zheng, Xu Liu, Haifeng Li, and Caijie Yan, “Omnidirectional-view three-dimensional display system based on cylindrical selective-diffusing screen,” Appl. Opt. 49, 4915-4920 (2010). http://mypage.zju.edu.cn/0099150/592595.html


18 March 2012

What I’d Like to Be Reading: w/o Mar 12, 2012

Reader -

From time to time, I’ll post “WILTBR” – sharing the things which I’ve either studied or marked as something valuable to read when I have the chance. “What I’d like to be reading".

I’ve followed various branches of computational photography and the light field literature for several years, but there are some fundamentals I hadn’t gotten into. There’s a bit of that this week, amongst:

M Grosse, G Wetzstein, A Grundhoefer, and O Bimber, “Coded Aperture Projection,” Transactions on Graphics 29:3 (June 2010) SIGGRAPH 2010. [pdf]

R Horstmeyer, S B Oh, and R Raskar, “View-dependent displays and the space of light fields,” arXiv:1008.0034v1 (“…how light propagates from thin elements into a volume for viewing…” I.e. parallax displays vs holographic displays)

and presumably relatedly:

S B Oh, G Barbastathis, and R Raskar, “Augmenting light field to model wave optics effects,” a work in progress (Apr 6, 2009) [pdf]

T Bishop, S Zanetti, and P Favaro, “Light field superresolution,” ICCP 2009. (can Lytro-like cameras produce imagery of higher resolution than they ought to?) [project]

The publications of Matthias Zwicker [list]

YouTube: “Adobe demos plenoptic lens tech with GPU power” [YouTube]

Doug Lanman suggested that I look at these, when I asked him which papers do a good job of explaining the mechanics of considering light transport in the light field math framework (e.g. "shear, propagate, shear…”)

F Durand, N Holzschuch, C Soler, E Chan, and F Sillion, “A frequency analysis of light transport,” SIGGRAPH 2005. [project]

C-K Liang, Y-C Shih, and H H Chen, “Light field analysis for modeling image formation,” IEEE Trans Image Proc 20(2) (Feb 2011) [pdf]

D Lanman – Ph.D. thesis, “Mask-based light field capture and display,” (2010) [pdf]



01 March 2012

What I’m reading: 3-D, optics

Hello from Optics for Hire, where the topic of 3-D display has been coming up even more than usual. At the moment, the clouds over Arlington are trying to figure out how much snow to deposit on Mass Ave. Feels like the right mood to share a few of the things crossing my desk:
Good LinkedIn Groups for 3-D display:
  • Non-Glasses 3D Display Technology is moderated by Thomas Edwards, the VP Engineering & Development at FOX Networks Group. It seems to have a higher % of technical “meat” than some of the other autostereo groups which tend to be more self-promotional (about spatially multiplexed displays).
  • Stereoscopic Displays and Applications is affiliated with the SPIE-IS&T conference of the same name. But: discussions about more than the conference itself.
Recent obsession: I wonder to what extent autostereoscopic cinema is feasible in 2012. Will the technological enabler be a many-projector system like Holografika’s, a variant of a “specular” display [refs here], or the rebirth of mid-century techniques (doubt it)? My interest in this was recently rekindled by the movie Hugo’s depiction of Georges Melies building optical systems, filming entertaining content (movies!), and exhibiting them. Then again growing up in West Orange, NJ sort of primes one for that interest (T. A. Edison).
Speaking of autostereo cinema, I recommend the SD&A 2012 proceedings paper by Walter Funk. It’s available now through the SPIE Digital Library and has 80+ references. He discusses very early work, such as Maxwell’s real-image stereoscope, the Swan “Crystal Cube Miniatures,” and the development of parallax barrier and fly’s-eye lens arrays (Berthier, Jacobson, Ives, …). And that’s not all, page after page of references regarding the early days of autostereo cinema (1920s?), Noaillon’s work, theaters in France and the USSR.
Walter Funk, “History of autostereoscopic cinema,” Proc. SPIE 8288, 82880R (2012) – link.
New conference. The OSA is experimenting with a new conference format, called “incubators.” They hope to encourage frank and less-guarded discussion amongst peers and competitors in these meetings with an interesting format: several expert panel discussions followed by lengthy discussion periods (each attendee table has a high-quality microphone). Last week, in DC, was the 3D Display Technology, Perception and Application Incubator Meeting, chaired by Nasser Peyghambarain, Mike Bove, and Hong Hua. This was a lot of fun – heck, it was the first optics meeting witness to a brief shouting match. About holo-pixels!
What new things did I learn there?
  • Henry Fuchs’s group made several random-hole autostereo displays (links, discussion)
  • His group also determined that you can reduce inter-Kinect interference for multi-Kinect systems by placing mechanical vibrators on each. That way, the only in-focus pattern seen by a Kinect is its own. The others are blurred.
  • Several folks are pursuing 360-degree tabletop displays. At Actuality we called these “theta-parallax-only” displays, or more jokingly, “Death Star displays.” E.g., Zheng Zhenrong of Zhejiang University (P.R. China) built a system reminiscent of this.
  • The MIT Media Lab’s Camera Culture Group, led by Ramesh Raskar, continues to innovate “computational displays,” such as their HR3D, Layered 3D, and Polarization Field displays that push attenuation-based systems to their limits. What’s next? Tensor displays. Ramesh was a panelist, summarizing the group’s work, and Doug and Gordon each presented the advances they’re creating.
  • Jannick Rolland (Univ. Ariz.), Kevin Thompson (Synopsys / ORA), and Hong Hua continue the effort to design less-obtrusive head-worn displays. Free-form optics!
  • What do we do about the seemingly stalled improvement in the space-bandwidth product of SLMs? Paraphrasing Darrel Hopper (USAF, Wright Pat), “We need holo-pixels!”. Paraphrasing Fuchs, “Make do with what we have, by putting more smart software in the loop, like the Camera Culture displays!” Two panelists actually offered plots of pixel-count versus year, to enable us to guess when holo-TV might be feasible: Masahiro Yamaguchi supposed that we’ll have 10” 30-degree viewing in 2023, and 40” 90-degree viewing in 2037.
  • Mike Bove (MIT Media Lab) mentioned that his group continues work on a desktop holographic video display using a custom lithium niobate waveguide component. Ready to be demonstrated this summer, perhaps? At ISDH, I wonder (25-29 Jun 2012)?
  • What cues cause one’s eyes to focus? And what’s up with jumping spiders and their 4-layer retinas?
  • It is indeed possible to consume a post-conference 14-course Turkish dinner.
Speaking of MIT’s contributions to holographic display, Mark Lucente and Mike Klug showed enticing videos of Zebra Imaging’s ZScape displays. Also, some footage from (1980s?) Media Lab. Digging through YouTube, I found them – and also some wonderful clips of the late Stephen Benton.
  1. (1992) BBC documentary re: holovideo (YouTube)
  2. (1985) Synthetic Holography, a Media Lab videodisc (YouTube) Check out 3:04 for Benton’s description of their alcove hologram.
French autostereoscopic cinema
Interview and frankly amazing footage of le cyclo-stereoscope (1940s? 1950s?). No, really, check it out. Giant spinning rods! Popcorn! What could go wrong?
Surveys of the field
I am considering adding a page to my personal website with suggested readings for new researchers in autostereo. Until then, here are a few:
  • M. Halle, “Autostereoscopic displays and computer graphics,” Computer Graphics, ACM SIGGRAPH, 31(2), May 1997. LINK
Surveys of recent advances: These two have different emphases:
  1. N. S. Holliman, N. A. Dodgson, G. E. Favalora, and L. Pockett, “Three-Dimensional Displays: A Review and Applications Analysis (invited),” IEEE Trans Broadcasting, 57(2), 362-371 (June 2011). Available via IEEE, or here.
  2. J. Hong, Y. Kim, H.-J. Choi, J. Hahn, J.-H. Park, H. Kim, S.-W. Min, N. Chen, and B. Lee, “Three-dimensional display technologies of recent interest: principles, status, and issues (invited),” Appl. Opt. 50, H87-H115 (2011). (Optics InfoBase)
And… workshop on computational displays!
Hear-ye, hear-ye! The CVPR 2012 Workshop for Computational Cameras and Displays has issued a call for papers. See here.
ps Look into the eyes of the Bokode Owl (Wait for it…) Click “show more” if you’re not up on bokodes.