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Hitachi develops omnidirectional 3D display

Posted: 02 Mar 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Hitachi? transport 3-d display system? hitachi human interaction laboratory?

Hitachi Ltd has developed a prototype 3D display that can show an object from any and all directions, a full 360.

The Transport 3D display system, built by the Hitachi Human Interaction Laboratory, is essentially a cylinder with a projector at the bottom and a mirror at the top, facing it. In between, 24 mirrors are arranged along the cylinder's circumference and a rotating screen sits at its center.

After a proprietary camera captures moving or still images of an object from 24 directions, the projector projects them to the opposing top mirror. Images are then reflected at a certain angle to each of the 24 mirrors set along the cylinder's circumference. Those mirrors in turn reflect their views of the image onto the screen, which rotates 30 times a second.

The screen shows each of the 24 reflected images one by one as it turns to squarely face the associated mirrors. Since the rotating screen is double-sided, viewers see images at 1/60s from a particular angle, Hitachi said. The result, to the viewer's eye, is a 3D image.

Hitachi researchers designed the center screen with a limited viewing angle so that adjacent images would not overlap. The screen, the omnidirectional camera and software to control the system are key technologies, but the system is relatively simple and based on existing technologies, the company said.

The company is doing a feasibility study on the business prospects of the 3D display system. It cited possible applications in advertising and arcade games. The Transport system's simplicity, and its ability to display both moving and still images in full color, make it an attractive alternative to holography, Hitachi said.

Holography has been seen as the most likely way to deliver three-dimensional images, but it still has to clear a big technological hurdle if it is to display real-time moving pictures.

- Yoshiko Hara

EE Times

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