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Prime time debut for 3D TV still years away

Posted: 19 Aug 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:TV 3D technology? panel Siggraph? content 2D?

A panel on the future of 3D technologies agreed that more electronics advances are needed to make 3D ubiquitous in the next five years without the need for special viewing glasses.

Jim Mainard, head of product development at DreamWorks Animation, and moderator of the Siggraph panel, said "3-D has come to the cinema as unique experiences. What will it take to make it in the homeand without glasses?"

Added Nick Hollman, senior lecturer at University of Durham, "We need to study the limits of 3D technology and build tools to make it ubiquitous." Hollman said 3D is not portable across all display sizes, nor is it the same experience from one person to the next.

"There are three characteristics that mark the 3D experience: distance from the display; the resolution of the display, which are directly proportional to the experience; and the [interpupilary distance], which is inversely proportional to the experience."

IPD is the distance between the eyes, and varies significantly among age groups.

Hollam called for "better design for 3D and [working] on 3D solutions from the start to achieve the same quality in notebooks and games as in cinema."

Rob de Vogel, senior director for 3D solutions at Philips, said more work is needed on autostereoscopic displays, that need to be domain specific, coexistence between 2- and 3D infrastructures and avoiding format wars.

"We are stuck in a 2D world," said Rob Engle, senior stereographer and digital effects supervisor at Sony Pictures ImageWorks. "We need to start thinking in terms of 3D. The computing power will be available, but the mindset needs to change," adding that 2D content should not be "stretched for 3D displays.

There also needs to be a feedback loop from the viewer back to the content source. "Maybe we use the Internet for that so that the content provider can adjust the transmission according to each individual's 3D technology," said Engle.

Hollam said research seeks to accommodate multiple viewing locations and collaboration. Andrew Kostrzewski of Physics Optics Corp. added that holography might be the "more than 3D" solution: "A holographic system with its many sides allows each person to specify their point of viewing."

Medical applications for 3D were shown at Siggraph by TrueVision Systems Inc. It focuses on visualization during microsurgery, and has patented digital, real-time 3D HD vision technology. The company has released a next-generation image capture module that fits most surgical microscopes and provides 1,280 x 1,024 pixel images.

The optical image is converted to a digital video stream, which is fed to a 3D display in real-time. The camera processes at nearly 2Gbit/s, providing live video at 60 frames per second (fps) for each eye and recorded video at 30fps for each eye. The proprietary electronics design stitches together two high-definition views into a single synchronized stereo data stream.

- Nicolas Mokhoff
EE Times

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