Scientists tout home holographic displays
By Stewart Mitchell
Posted on 25 Jan 2011 at 12:33
3D televisions and displays may still be in their infancy, but researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology believe holographic services will not be far behind.
Using a single Xbox Kinect and standard graphics chips and computers, MIT researchers have demonstrated the highest frame rate yet for streaming holographic video – with video displayed at 15 frames per second.
According to the researchers, their technique is a step forward from previous holovideo efforts that required up 16 image capture points and could herald consumer products once an affordable holographic display completes the picture.
Because it is a hologram, it is already 3D so one doesn't need to wear glasses and one can move one's head around and look around the object
“Really, the focus of our work in digital holography — and I think this makes us pretty much unique among the very small community of people in the world even doing holovideo — is that we’re trying to make a consumer product,” said Michael Bove, who heads up MIT's Object-Based Media Group
“So we’ve been saying, ‘How do you make it as cheap as possible — take advantage of hardware and standards and software and everything else that already exists?’ Because that’s the quickest way to bring it to market.”
The system uses three GPUs to handle the graphics requirements that are far more complicated than for 3D, which only needs to worry about gathering information for two cameras – one for each eye.
“In the real world, light bounces off of objects at an infinite number of angles,” the researchers said.
“Holographic video systems use devices that produce so-called diffraction fringes, fine patterns of light and dark that can bend the light passing through them in predictable ways. A dense enough array of fringe patterns, each bending light in a different direction, can simulate the effect of light bouncing off of a three-dimensional object.”
The scientists said the real challenge with real-time holographic video was taking video data — in the case of the Kinect, the light intensity of image pixels and, for each of them, a measure of distance from the camera — and converting that data into fringe patterns.
“We capture the images through Kinect and an ordinary laptop, the laptop sends the information over the Internet to a holographic video display, where another PC is using ordinary graphics cards to calculate the holographic video,” said Bove.
“Because it is a hologram, it is already 3D so one doesn't need to wear glasses and one can move one's head around and look around the object.”
The scientists believe that they can increase the 15fps achieved in tests to the 30fps shown in standard television broadcasts.
The one component of the researchers’ experimental system that can’t be bought cheaply online is the holographic display itself, but Bove says his team is also researching a display that would be within the budgets of home entertainment enthusiasts.
Sounds about right.That explains the whole bank of GTX580's in the holodeck on the last episode of Voyager. :-)
By Jaberwocky on 25 Jan 2011
Minor technical point.
"...the 30fps shown in standard television broadcasts."
By lokash20 on 25 Jan 2011
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