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Displays Sony Toys Technology

Sony Demo'ing 360 Degree 3-D Tabletop Display 102

Posted by timothy
from the must-stand-in-this-position dept.
JoshuaInNippon writes "Sony announced via a Japanese press release that they will be showing off a prototype of a tabletop 360 degree 3-D display that can be seen in any direction without special glasses at the Digital Content Expo 2009 in Tokyo, from October 22-25. The device is quite small, at just over 10 inches tall and 5 inches in diameter. The display, using LEDs, currently supports an image that is 96 pixels wide by 128 pixels tall, with 24-bit full color. Sony also says it could have a number of applications, such as a digital sign, a digital frame, a medical display, or a virtual pet. Looking at the product image, who else wants to bet on the latter?)"
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Sony Demo'ing 360 Degree 3-D Tabletop Display

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  • Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday October 19, 2009 @12:57PM (#29796975) Journal
    How about an application that, using the webcam, grabs an image of the user's face and then wraps it onto a 3d model of a little head on this display.

    Your own tiny, somewhat distorted face would stare at you for a while, and then begin a high, thin, tormented wailing, smashing itself against the confines of the display tube. It's like a screensaver; but with more sanity damage.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MRe_nl (306212)

      (from the presspiece)
      "If you had such a 3603d display, what would you use it for?"
      Talk about a loaded question.

      Pr0n of course (but with more sanity damage perhaps).

    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Sponge Bath (413667) on Monday October 19, 2009 @01:09PM (#29797205)

      Your own tiny, somewhat distorted face would stare at you for a while, and then begin a high, thin, tormented wailing, smashing itself against the confines of the display tube.

      Just like the old days of reading /. with a reflective CRT screen.

      • Yeah, 85hz or higher refresh rates on a crisp clear display with a sizeable amount more space than those laggy/blurry LCDs was terrible. I hate mine so much, I want something that can only run one resolution (badly) and smears like an oil painting whenever I scroll.

        • by Zan Lynx (87672)

          You must have got one of those $75 "special" LCDs.

          You generally get what you pay for.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MBCook (132727)
      Just what I need. My own personal Max Headroom telling me I have email
      • And, what with the processing requirements, it'll even stutter!

    • by oGMo (379)
      Nuff said. [planetsmeg.com]
    • don't let Sony marketing hear you! or they might come up with more crazy ads... anyone remember the ps3 baby one? man, that was surreal and horrifying all at once :)

  • by oldspewey (1303305) on Monday October 19, 2009 @12:57PM (#29796985)

    96 pixels wide by 128 pixels tall

    If this thing is a 3D display, shouldn't there be another pixel dimension quoted here?

    • by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Monday October 19, 2009 @01:02PM (#29797063) Journal

      96 pixels wide by 128 pixels tall

      If this thing is a 3D display, shouldn't there be another pixel dimension quoted here?

      I'd settle for an explanation of how the thing works.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gnick (1211984)

        Hear hear. I'm assuming that the third dimension is 2, just like every 3-d display I've seen (they ALWAYS tailor these thing for people with only 2 eyes...), but one way or another they need to show different images to each eye. We've done the colored cellophane thing. We've done the shudder thing. We've done the separate display thing. We've done the vertical/horizontal polarization thing. We've done (and are doing for modern movies) the horizontal polarization thing with reversed polarity wave plate

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Judging by the shape of the device, I'd say it's done by projecting onto a rapidly rotating surface (mirror?), relying on persistence of vision to create the image. At least I've seen a demo of such a technique before.
        • by Thoguth (203384)

          I had the same thought. It's like those waving-wand displays that use a 1-dimensional array of LED's to make a 2-dimensional image, only apparently adapted dimensions++

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mcgrew (92797) *

        Indeed; I RTFA and was sorely disappointed, it looked like a Sony press release (and a small one at thet) to me. There was nothing in TFA that warranted reading it, aside from the picture of the goofy looking hardware.

        Is it stereoscopic or holographic? And whichever, how does the thing work?

      • Not a new idea (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bussdriver (620565)

        Its clearly the rotation screen idea. Those clocks and other gimic 2D displays where a line of LEDs are moved quickly to create a virtual flat surface and a synchronized micro controller figures out what to flash on the LEDs when they "scan" past a point in space. The concept is similar to the old tube TV with electron scans-- but in a way, it is more primitive in that a physical scanning process is involved.

        The 3D version is the same concept but has a flat surface screen that rotates on the Z axis. Their

      • Yeah, I'm still trying to figure what it actually looks like, too. The description was obviously written by the same guy who used to write the Sony user's manuals that talked about the "equipments."

    • by Shadis (934448)
      Maybe it is being projected as a cylinder.
    • by OzPeter (195038) on Monday October 19, 2009 @01:05PM (#29797117)

      96 pixels wide by 128 pixels tall

      If this thing is a 3D display, shouldn't there be another pixel dimension quoted here?

      It is probably one of the spinning mirror type displays. They project different 96 x 128 pixel images onto a spinning mirror depending on the angular position of the mirror. So the 3rd dimension that is probably missing is the minimum angular feature within the 360 degrees.

    • Looking at the picture, I think it's likely that it's built with a circular display around the z axis, so the width is probably a diameter measurement. 96 pixels in diameter and 128 pixels tall seems to make sense to me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Fred_A (10934)

      96 pixels wide by 128 pixels tall

      If this thing is a 3D display, shouldn't there be another pixel dimension quoted here?

      Judging by the quoted figures, they were probably too embarrassed.

      Journalist: "So what are the 3 dimensions that you can display in ?"
      Sony : "It's 128 pixels by 96 pixels by mumblemumble but it's still very experimental. And look at the vibrant colours !"
      Journalist : "Sorry I didn't get that last figure"
      Sony : "Did you notice the refresh rate, oh yes it's 128x96xmumble, look, we have a great tree model, let me load it for you"
      Journalist : "sorry, times what ?"
      Sony (squeaky) "times three..."
      (in an overly en

    • by cpicon92 (1157705)
      One could assume that since the device is cylindrical that 96 pixels is the diameter and 128 pixels is the height.
    • by Guspaz (556486)

      Assuming it works by the old "spinning display surface" trick, no. There are only two dimensions at any given point in time.

  • Like the 3D displays I saw at SIGGRAPH?
  • by lymond01 (314120) on Monday October 19, 2009 @01:00PM (#29797045)

    Fun, but kind of useless at that size, unless you're R2D2 and have a vital message for an older Jedi warrior. I can envision floor and ceiling mounted projection units mounted flush that will do this sort of thing to display mannequins, advertisements, and battle station blueprints. I would think with a large enough angle from the floor and ceiling you wouldn't need any side projectors.

    • by fyngyrz (762201) * on Monday October 19, 2009 @01:08PM (#29797171) Homepage Journal

      This, or something else truly 3D (as opposed to stereo tech), will no doubt be scalable. The problem we have, really, is there is no 3D media. No movies, TV shows, etc. Only computer generated imagery is readily available in 3D at this point.

      Making stereo media is almost trivial. 3D is a whole nuther ball of wax. Highly desirable, but no less difficult for that.

      • by ae1294 (1547521) on Monday October 19, 2009 @01:41PM (#29797655) Journal

        This, or something else truly 3D (as opposed to stereo tech), will no doubt be scalable. The problem we have, really, is there is no 3D media. No movies, TV shows, etc. Only computer generated imagery is readily available in 3D at this point.

        Making stereo media is almost trivial. 3D is a whole nuther ball of wax. Highly desirable, but no less difficult for that.

        Ahhh I donno I've seen some 3d porn out on the torrent sites and with the way computers are going it won't be to long before someone writes a conversion program for 2d anyhow. You see the Characters from enough angles most of the time.

        Really I'm just waiting for the "make your own" porn I MEAN movie software.

        1. Select the characters & their mental attributes.
        2. Select the outfits, scenes, etc.
        3. Input story/screenplay.
        4. Do some directing when something goes wrong.
        5. Profit... (There is no ??? or spoon)

        • Didn't Peter Jackson already use something like this for the battle scenes in the LOTR movies?
          • by ae1294 (1547521)

            Didn't Peter Jackson already use something like this for the battle scenes in the LOTR movies?

            I'd say so... I mean most games already use something like it anyhow to control large groups of monsters... As it stands right now it's really already here in a way... You can get a WoW account and get a bunch of people together to act out something.. Not sure how you would capture it but there is always the analog hole and you can voice over, and add your own sound effects in post production....

            Some one really just needs to put it all together and go from a simple v1.0 to something really nice....

        • No. That was stereo porn! Or else you would have been able to freely rotate and move the 3d scene while it animates. Which, exactly as GP stated, is only possible for computer generated content, and very hard for reality (you would need a camera for every viewing angle. Assuming 1 degree steps (which is pretty big), that would mean 360 cameras per per vertical angle.

          I wait for volumetric real 3D porn with freely movable slicing volumes, with recommended slicing volumes, offered by the director. (Like separa

      • by Cili (687222)

        This looks like it uses a rotating display or mirror. It's not scalable.

      • by TheSync (5291)

        This, or something else truly 3D (as opposed to stereo tech), will no doubt be scalable.

        Spinning mirror technology is not scalable. Now if the large spinning mirror could be converted to a flat plane of a large number of small light steering devices (MEMS, electrowetting manipulation of optical films, digital light deflectors, etc), then it would be scalable.

      • by physburn (1095481)
        The device is toy, its tiny, the resolution is small. I suppose it might be useful for 3d graphic designers, if they can get real time output into it. But it wouldn't be useful for scene design, just for sprite/character design.

        ---

        3D Graphics [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

      • by lxs (131946)

        Isn't another problem with this tech that the images are more or less transparent?

        Voxels near the viewer will not block light from bright voxels behind them. So you can't really do realistic scenes unless you stick to showing items made of non-reflective glass.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by DrData99 (916924)
      One word: Tamagotchi.
    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      A suit case sized version might be able to display Jefferson Starship in 3d.

      Yes, I went with a Star Wars Xmas special reference.

  • From FTA: (Score:5, Funny)

    by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Monday October 19, 2009 @01:02PM (#29797067)

    If you had such a 360 degree 3d display, what would you use it for?

    I don't know about anyone else, but I would use mine to project a 3d representation of a crudely drawn penis.

  • I'm waiting for the 'adult' applications of this technology.

    • by Follier (901079)
      SIGGRAPH! Moving us back to 1970s scifi tech. Next? A next generation space shuttle that is actually propelled by strings and an bottle rocket.
  • Not Latter (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by TheSeventh (824276)

    Sony also says it could have a number of applications, such as a digital sign, a digital frame, a medical display, or a virtual pet. Looking at the product image, who else wants to bet on the latter?)

    Latter refers to the second of two choices or things mentioned, not the last in a list of things, and I have no idea why there is a close parenthesis at the end of the summary, when there is no corresponding open parenthesis.

    • by vrmlguy (120854)

      You've parsed the sentence wrong. Let me help.

      Sony also says it could have a number of applications, such as a digital sign, a digital frame, a medical display, or a virtual pet. Looking at the product image, who else wants to bet on the latter?)

      There are two alternatives being discussed. The first (or former) is "a number of applications, such as a digital sign, a digital frame, a medical display", where the conjunction has been elided. The second (or latter) is "a virtual pet", as in "Sony also says it could have a virtual pet." This is indicative of the advanced nature of the design. We should be glad that its pets would be virtual, as a device of such capabilities could easily have human pets.

  • The spinning mirror technology has been around for quite some time, I remember seeing demos at Siggraph 10 years ago and it definitely goes farther back than that. Same idea behind the spinning LED clocks you can buy now, except adding a third dimension with a larger LED array and different axis of rotation for the mirror. What is changing now is packaging and integration, and advances in various sub-technologies that make it more viable. As it matures it begins to look like something more useful / fun

  • by puddles (147314)

    Looks like a more polished version of LED-POV displays that many people have gotten to work already.

  • 96 pixels wide by 128 pixels tall

    And how deep?
  • 1) Removal of flicker. In spinning mirror either mechanics or electronics couldnt really update the outer voxels fast enough, so you'd see flicker.

    2) Implementation of the color "black". You can get a void with a spinning mirror, but no absence of light, e.g. black. The picture in the article appears to have lots of black in it.
  • Here's how a commercial, usable version of this technology would work. There would be a large tank (called a "holo tank" of course) made of glass, with a bigger rotating mirror. The mirror would probably be 30" diagonal or so. The tank would be evacuated of air so that the rotor could spin quickly without much noise or friction. Due to the internal vacuum, uh, tank the whole assembly would be quite large and heavy. A DLP projector with light from LEDs would project the image onto the rotating mirror.

  • Didn't they use it to "Beam" their correspondents into their studio on several occasions.....????

  • I'd have the most dope hood ornament on the block! Actually, these would make sweet xmas ornaments as well.
  • God that's a tiny image.

    Why don't they just hire the artist chick from Bones, who's also a genius hardware and software computer engineer?

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