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Author Topic: Holographic TV may soon replace 3D TV  (Read 3524 times)

Jay Sadie

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Holographic TV may soon replace 3D TV
« on: December 24, 2011, 03:01:10 AM »

Many great inventions sometime have a relatively short lifespan. This usually happens when improved technology causes the demise of the original invention.

[float=right][smg id=303 width=200 caption="Holographic TV"][/float]An example of new technology that will soon be replaced is current 3D Television technology, where the viewer has to wear glasses to get the 3D effect. The problem with having to wear glasses is that some people experience nausea when wearing them, caused by having to "focus" on the 3D images, which is unnatural for one's eyes.

To experience true 3D TV, without having to wear glasses, a new improved technology is needed. And this is exactly what scientists are currently working on. It seems that Sci-Fi is once again on the verge of turning into reality.

Enter Holographic TV...


n 2010, Apple won a patent for a revolutionary new 3D holographic system that would not require glasses and could be viewed by multiple people at the same time. The patent went so far as to slam current 3D systems, noting that most people dislike goggles and dismissing current non-glasses systems as “essentially unworkable for projecting a 3D image … to an entire audience.”

What solution did Apple propose? An “unobstructed 3D viewing device” that would give each viewer a different line of sight for both left and right eye, perfecting a stereoscopic image for a group of viewers watching one giant screen. The Apple patent even had a cool name for the result: a hologram. Could Apple put holograms in every home, break the stranglehold of cable companies, and unlock a $14 billion TV revenue stream?


At the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers’ (SPIE) Practical Holography conference in San Francisco the weekend of 23 Jan. 2011, members of Michael Bove’s Object-Based Media Group presented a new system that can capture visual information using off-the-shelf electronics, send it over the Internet to a holographic display, and update the image at rates approaching those of feature films.

MIT’s Stephen Benton

The one component of the researchers’ experimental system that can’t be bought at an electronics store for a couple hundred dollars is the holographic display itself. It’s the result of decades of research that began with MIT’s Stephen Benton, who built the first holographic video display in the late 1980s. (When Benton died in 2003, Bove’s group inherited the holographic-video project.) The current project uses a display known as the Mark-II, a successor to Benton’s original display that both Benton’s and Bove’s groups helped design. But Bove says that his group is developing a new display that is much more compact, produces larger images, and should also be cheaper to manufacture. (Bove and his students reported on an early version of the display at the same SPIE conference four years ago.)


In November 2010, researchers at the University of Arizona made headlines with an experimental holographic-video transmission system that used 16 cameras to capture data and whose display refreshed every two seconds. The new MIT system uses only one data-capture device — the new Kinect camera designed for Microsoft’s Xbox gaming system — and averages about 15 frames per second. Moreover, the MIT researchers didn’t get their hands on a Kinect until the end of December, and only in the week before the conference did they double the system’s frame rate from seven to 15 frames per second. They’re confident that with a little more time, they can boost the rate even higher, to the 24 frames per second of feature films or the 30 frames per second of TV — rates that create the illusion of continuous motion.


Developed by Videa, Cheoptics360 is a technology utilizing four hologram projectors to project an outbound image. It can be seen from all angles, and has surprisingly good contrast. This is thought of as the most advanced attempt at creating true holographic TV imagery.

Zebra Imaging

Mark Lucente, director of display products for Zebra Imaging in Austin, Texas, which is commercializing holographic displays for videoconferencing applications, says that his company’s prospective customers are often uncomfortable with the sheer computational intensity of holographic video. “It’s very daunting,” he says. “1.5 gigabytes per second are being generated on the fly.” By demonstrating that off-the-shelf components can keep up with the computational load, Lucente says, Bove’s group is “helping show that it’s within the realm of possibility.” Indeed, he says, “by taking a video game and using it as an input device, [Bove] shows that it’s a hop, skip and a jump away from reality.”

Media Lab

When the Media Lab researchers demonstrate their new technology at the conference in San Francisco, another grad student in Bove’s group, Edwina Portocarrero, sporting a cowled tunic and a wig with side buns, will re-enact the scene from the first Star Wars movie in which a hologram of Princess Leia implores Obi-Wan Kenobi to re-join the battle against the evil empire. The resolution of the real hologram won’t be nearly as high as that of the special-effects hologram in the movie, but as Bove points out, “Princess Leia wasn’t being transmitted in real time. She was stored.”


Taking everything into account I would not rush out to upgrade my current HDTV to a 3D TV. I think it would be wise to hold off until Holographic TVs hit the market. It may take 2 to 5 years to get there, but the wait will be well worth it. It is just a matter of time till we enter the next step towards making what was once considered Sci-Fi a reality. I can't wait to see what will be next... Maybe Teleportation?!  :D
« Last Edit: December 24, 2011, 03:37:25 AM by Jay Sadie »
"I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success." - Nikola Tesla
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