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Perspecta Walk Around 3D Display 138

Spinneyhead writes "New Scientist reports on the Perspecta display, a goldfish bowl like device that displays moving images in such a way that they seem to "float" within the display. "To display the image, software inside the Perspecta chops a 3D model generated by the computer into 198 separate pieces, like slices of cake, which are then projected onto the screen in quick succession by a graphics accelerator that feeds image slices to an optical system mounted below the screen. The result looks to the viewer like a 3D image composed of 100 million "volume pixels" or "voxels".""
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Perspecta Walk Around 3D Display

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  • Hey (Score:2, Funny)

    by beatdown ( 788583 ) *
    Doesn't look so impressive on my screen!
  • mmmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by hjf ( 703092 ) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @10:11AM (#12728944) Homepage
    so now I'll finally get to see that Leia message?
    • Re:mmmm (Score:3, Funny)

      by Lispy ( 136512 )
      Well, actually you would have seen the whole message if you wouldn't have gone to Toshi station to pick up some power converters. But then again much of your boring life as a moisture farmer would have been quite different and you wouldn't have been killed by a bunch of stormtroopers the day after you found that weird message inside that R2 unit. :)
  • by technix4beos ( 471838 ) * <> on Sunday June 05, 2005 @10:14AM (#12728955) Homepage Journal

    You'll find the company here:

    Actuality Systems [].

  • Nice gift (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mononoke ( 88668 ) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @10:15AM (#12728960) Homepage Journal
    a goldfish bowl like device that displays moving images in such a way that they seem to "float" within the display.
    Does it say So long, and thanks for all the fish along the brim?

  • With all these 3D displays coming out it sure would be nice to actually see some pictures of one. No that little CG pic doesn't count.
  • hmm. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by toQDuj ( 806112 )
    for the same price as one 25 cm 3d display, you can have 4 powermac g5's with dual 30" displays. that's 8 massive displays for the price of one 25 cm goldfish bowl..

    In order to make it appealing they'd have to produce it for about 400 $ methinks. and connect it to a telephone :)
    • It should also include a digital clock.

      Can't get to many of those...

      (but they should spend the money on one of those that can keep the time, if it looses power for five seconds. Nothing is cooler that having to reset the watch in the microware oven after you moved it a bit).
    • Re:hmm. (Score:3, Interesting)

      yes, but your 8 massive displays still don't display true 3D. cost of two airplanes colliding > $40,000 cost of overradiating someone during cancer treatment > $40,000 cost of misdrilling an industrial 1,000ft oil well > $40,000 some applications just need 3D visualization, and all the processing power and 3D graphic cards and 2D monitors in the world simply won't allow you to effectively participate or utilize those industry applications if you don't have a real 3D visualization system. and ste
      • Re:hmm. (Score:2, Informative)

        by toQDuj ( 806112 )
        Well, true 3d is something we'd all want, I agree with you there. but there are other ways of displaying dimensions, for instance by using perspective and shading.

        The airplane scenario does not hold, since current displays in control towers have been shown to be adequate. yes, it is cool to have a 3d image of the skies above, but you'd constantly have to move around the screen to see where it is in all three dimensions.

        I have also found that displaying a molecule can be done sufficiently well, by rotating
        • We've seen the Star Wars visions of 3D visualisation now part of this generation's mindset, but the earliest record of the concept for 3D displays must have come from Doc Smith's epic SF "Lensman" series of novels -- the author made use of some quaint and stylised technology, but the upshot was a 3-D "Tank" for "grand fleet operations" and a smaller "Reducing Tank" to show a tactical view. This was written in the 1930-1950 era, long before flat-screen, B&W commercial television made it to every house.


      • Plane safety & PS3 (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Dog135 ( 700389 )
        If you want practical 3D displays for something like an airport, you CAN use stereo goggles along with a trackball to rotate around the y axis. A setup like that would work well sitting at a desk, rather then this setup which would require everone standing around the center of the room, getting in each other's way. (Or each person with their own table to walk around)

        Stereo goggles only require 2 3D graphics cards, which can easily be run by a single computer, and they end up giving you more freedom, sinc
        • Hardware *is* a problem. Stereo goggles don't work for many people - if you've not got close-to-correct vision (and you don't wear contact lenses) then you can forget it. Unless we stipulate that air traffic controllers must not be spectacle wearers, that's not practical.

          Stereo goggles also put strain on the wearer, because you're not using your eyes normally (no focussing or eye movement possible), so they're not really suitable for long-term use.

      • What's the cost of a paragraph break? :)
  • by BabyDave ( 575083 ) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @10:17AM (#12728979)
    The lady who was operating it said I'd meet a tall handsome stranger. Luckily she didn't ask me to cross her palm with $40k (that's a heck of a lot of silver).
  • by Anonymous Monkey ( 795756 ) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @10:18AM (#12728983)
    I read the atricle, it sounds realy cool. But isn't 12cm kind of small for use in air trafic controll. "sorry, i can't see your blip because it's behind another blip" I think screen flicker isn't as bad of a thing as size.

    • It's 12.5cm radius, or 25cm diameter. About the same with as a 16" LCD screen. From images of high resolution radar screens [] and displays [], they would probably have to double the size of the screen.

      But would an air traffic controller want to have to walk around such a display, or would he/she get disorientated, if it could spin around?
    • Size isn't an issue (Score:2, Informative)

      by Dog135 ( 700389 )
      Basically, this is just a spinning projecter & screen. To make it bigger, just build it with a bigger screen and brighter projecter. The rest of the hardware and software would remain the same.

      As a side note, the flicker probably comes from viewing the back of the screen when it's turned away from the viewer. They need to add a second screen & projector to the back of the first.

      So, any guesses on how long before we see "porn bowls" 6 feet high projecting full sized 3D porn?
  • Wooow. (Score:3, Funny)

    by fbjon ( 692006 ) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @10:19AM (#12728985) Homepage Journal
    "At the click of a mouse, the molecule disappears and is replaced by images of two airliners on a collision course."
    Just think about it. You can change pictures at the click of a mouse!
  • by corsec67 ( 627446 ) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @10:20AM (#12728990) Homepage Journal
    From the article:
    turns at 15 revolutions per second, sweeping out a solid white sphere.

    I definitly don't want it until they get up 85 revolutions per second, and probably more. And I thought that 60 was horrible, imagine what 15 Hz would look like.
    • "turns at 15 revolutions per second, sweeping out a solid white sphere."

      and if you shake it, you get a nice wintery effect

    • You can project on both sides of the disk, though. Since one spot gets sweeped by two edges per revolution, that's effectively 30 refreshes per second.

      Better than a normal television.
      • So fast enough for Persistance of Vision, but still a piss poor refresh rate.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          What exactly is the benefit of a refresh rate faster than persistane of vision? Does my brain somehow "know" that there's more data there, even though I can't see it?

          I know modern multi-sync displays have taught people that higher refresh rates look better (i.e. have less flicker and may be brighter), but that's a limitation of multi-sync displays, not of the lower refresh rate. Multi-sync phosphors are designed to work at up for 120 Hz, and simply do not have the perisistance to stay lit at 60 Hz. Take a
          • Your brain sort of does know actually. You can get persistance of vision at a pretty low refresh rate, but things will look a lot smoother if the rate is higher (to a point).
          • Your peripheral vision can detect changes at speeds significantly higher than your main vision. Hence why if you stare straight at a CRT monitor with 60Hz refresh, you can't really notice a flicker... but if you focus 20 degrees to either side of the monitor and 'peek' out of the corner of your eye, you will easily notice the missing information.

            Also, 60Hz refresh -- even on LCDs, which maintain an image far longer than a CRT -- sometimes causes horrible headaches when combined with cheap (electronic balla
      • Better than a normal television.

        Yes, by a whopping 0.03 hz, for NTSC.
    • My newspaper refreshes, uh, zero times per second, and still doesn't hurt my eyes. The length of time the things *stay* fresh once refreshed is also relevant ...
  • by ( 745183 ) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @10:21AM (#12729001) Homepage
    Like a giant spinning lollipop, the screen, encased in a transparent polycarbonate shell, turns at 15 revolutions per second, sweeping out a solid white sphere.

    Just don't forget and reach for the pretty picture. . .

  • Hot damn! (Score:2, Funny)

    by elgee ( 308600 )
    Now I can see the back of my email messages!

    But I will have to mortgage my house to do so.
  • Slashvertisement ? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Animaether ( 411575 ) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @10:27AM (#12729023) Journal
    This is hardly new [] or innovative. I'm pretty sure the company itself has been mentioned before as well.

    Projecting images onto a rotating plane or helix [] is old stuff.
  • by A Dafa Disciple ( 876967 ) * on Sunday June 05, 2005 @10:33AM (#12729044) Homepage
    The product in TFA is only 25cm in diameter, and if the featured image of the display is up to scale, then its display dome is going to be about 20cm in height. I can't imagine the display of this thing can be too good from underneath with the bottom of this device in the way. It is also stated in TFA that, in order for this thing to work, the screen on the inside has to spin at 15 revs/sec.

    You can imagine the complexity of this device as it grows in scale. Even having a version of it at double the width and height is going to cause issues in trying to control the stability of all of its components. The velocity of the outermost edge of the screen (closest to the enclosing dome) is going to increase significantly as the device increases in size. All the while, you're creating a tornado within the dome.

    I'm afraid that large scale versions of this device are going to be infeasible in functionality, production, and especially cost (this baby version costs 40 grand) as many complications are going to arise.
  • No more MS windows everyone will be using the new MS Bubbles OS. Unless Micheal Jackson has the copyright for that!!
  • At least for practical puposes. 100,000,000^(1/3) = about 465 pixels on an edge. That's about on-par with 640x480 on a regular monitor.

    I'll stick with my "crappy" 2-dimensional monitor for the time being.
  • Movie (Score:4, Interesting)

    by panxerox ( 575545 ) * on Sunday June 05, 2005 @10:37AM (#12729058)
    I dont know why it sounds like a jet taking off but heres a
    movie []

    • pretty crap. not worth even $1000 imo.

      what's easier; walking around a display and shouting over that noise, or just rotating an image on a 30" LCD?
    • Re:Movie (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If you look, that is because they are INSIDE an aircraft. Dumbass
  • most of my programs tend to be floaters.
  • by oren ( 78897 ) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @10:42AM (#12729078)
    I recall reading about such a system in the late 80s or early 90s. It was made by TI and was much more ambitious - think a 2m x 2m x 1m tank used for air traffic control.

    This ones looks more practical, even if much less useful. At 15Hz and a mere 200x768x768 pixels, it is requires a mere 1/3GB but a whopping bandwidth of 5GB/s, and the quality is like that of a Dr. Who prop. Scale it up to 512x1048x1048 at 60Hz and you'll need an acceptable 1.5GB of memory but unrealistic 90GB/s memory bandwidth to drive the thing.

    While this might be possible to resolve using massively parallel interfaces or something, I bet we'd still need Moore's law to hold for another decade or two before the quality of this type of display can rival that of current 2D ones.

    In the meanwhile, this will remain a gimmick or be limited for very special applications where the low quality is acceptable (hint: this probably rules out medical applications :-)
    • Actually, it's primary focus *is* medical applications. True 3D visualization is notoriously hard to achieve. And your cheap $400 '3D' video cards aren't cutting it. That 2D monitor is still displaying information in 2D, no matter what kind of '3D' video card you're using. The problem is all in the hardware interface... whether it be stereogoggles or fishbowl monitors; there has to be a physical display capable of projecting images in 3D. This product is quite useful, in it's present form, as a medical
      • There goes the hospital bills, straight through the roof!

        At least you know what you are paying for, especially for such a cool system as this, instead of bedpans and oxygen lines by the foot.
        • There goes the hospital bills, straight through the roof!

          Not necessarily -- if the use of this display prevents one $40,000 medical mistake, then it's already paid for itself. If it also prevents the $500,000 malpractice lawsuit that would have sprung from that mistake, then it's reduced your hospital bills dramatically.

          • if the use of this display prevents one $40,000 medical mistake,

            If. There is no practical advantage too it. It's just cool. I don't want to have to walk around my 3D objects when I'm working. That's slow and tiring. I would rather just spin them around on my screen. Much faster and more efficient. Depth can be simulated with sequential field stereo and shutter glasses or two displays like with a HMD. There are also autostereo LCDs and projectors which are even more practical, although a bit more expensive
            • There is no practical advantage too it.

              Not for you, no. But they aren't trying to sell it to you. They are trying to sell it to people who need to visualize proteins, brain tumours, oil wells, etc. The people who are doing those things will decide if it is worth $40,000 of their money or not.

    • Put the video processing in the device itself and develop a 3d language (opengl?) to allow the main computer to describe what's to be displayed.

      Plus you only have to send what is to be displayed, empty space doesn't need to be sent or held in memory.

    • At 15Hz and a mere 200x768x768 pixels, it is requires a mere 1/3GB but a whopping bandwidth of 5GB/s

      You're using the wrong numbers. The system actually transfers 198 1024x768 pixel 3 bit color frames 24 times per second, at least according to the whitepaper. That's 1.4GB/s, not 5GB/s. Only the central 768 pixels of the 1024 are displayed so they could reduce the bandwidth requirement by 25%.

      In the meanwhile, this will remain a gimmick or be limited for very special applications where the low qual

  • A spinning display will finally justify our IT depts aversion to neck-ties. Now if we can just find a good excuse for hygeine...
  • So I have to walk around the display to see the image in 3D? This is progress?
  • bring new life to all those classic pornos!
  • In 1998, when I saw it on "C|Net".
  • Kinda reminds me of the early televisions, with the huge spinning color wheel.

    But when you become entranced by the image floating in space in front of you, and then slowly reach your hand forward to touch it, you'll be glad that you're standing around zoning out on a million dollar 3D flipbook with a half dozen neurosurgeons.
  • But can't afford it yet, so... *Everyone*, show this technology to your CEOs and CIOs. Use some visuallisation bullshit to get them to buy some of them.

    Then when the price comes down to a reasonable level we'll all be able to get one.

  • If i remember right, it was about a year or so ago that this company started getting press for their 'upcoming' product.

    Was mostly just a spinning disk inside a globe to 'simulate' 3D.

  • I remember seeing descriptions of rotating projection plane 3d systems more than a decade ago in magazines.

    If someone want to "wow" me, set up a system based on multiple scanning lasers in a transparent medium where two or more beams intersecting cause the medium either to glow or to become opaque depending on the combination of beams intersecting and the non-linear optical properties of the medium.

    *That* would be cool.
  • Tetris just got a lot harder.
  • The Boston Chapter of SIGGRAPH [] had a 'factory visit' last year. Very cool tech, nice very smart folks. The main problem is display bus bandwidth, if you start cubing the required data over any existing wire the technology just does not exist yet.

  • by LS ( 57954 )
    We can project a 3 dimensional object onto a two dimensional plane (a standard monitor), and get a good idea of what the object would look like if it was in 3D. I've seen animations of 4D objects on a 2D display, and I just don't grok the nature of the objects. If someone writes a visualization that projects a 4D object onto this 3D display, will it be much easier for the average person to grasp and understand?

    • If you want to get technical, this display is 4D and existing monitors are 3D. Current monitors have 3 dimentions: width, height, and time This thing has 4 dimentions: width, height, time, and depth
    • by pla ( 258480 )
      If someone writes a visualization that projects a 4D object onto this 3D display, will it be much easier for the average person to grasp and understand?

      Probably not, for two reasons...

      First, we can grasp the idea of 3d objects projected onto a 2d surface because we actually do see our 3d world in only 2d (times two, which we use to extract depth information via some very expensive and task-dedicated computational hardware). As the simplest way to think about that, consider the situation where you have
  • Here's an idea. Instead of providing a surface to scatter off by rotating a surface in space, fill a vessel full of some gas and focus two lasers at the point you want to scatter the light. Arrange for the freqencies of the two beams to add up to the frequency of a transition from the ground state of the atoms in the gas to an excited state. Photons should be produced where the beams intersect. Then you could make an image by just scanning through the volume intersecting the beams in a grid. Conceivably col
  • Anyone else remember this game from the early 90's? It featured a time traveling cowboy that appeared to be 3d because the video was projected on a parabolic mirror with a dark filter.
  • Granted this thing will be viewable by more than one individual at a time, but has was posted before this thing will have like 640x480 2D resolution max. I'd rather my Doctor look at Mega-Pixel image slices individually than make do with this crude imaging. My prediction: devices like this will only be good for walk around advertisements in crowded public areas.

    My BETTER suggestion/solution: a screen than can be gimbaled 360 degrees in the horizontal and 90 degrees in the vertical. Project 2 polarized

    • MIT is working on something much cooler,aid,115975, 0 0.asp []

      The article is light on facts, but the way that I've heard it is that they're researching ways using eye tracking cameras and a layer of LCD light deflectors to "aim" images at individual eyes. You don't need glasses or a head tracking beacon, as all of that is done automatically. You can walk around the front of the screen and get the right perspective. If you really needed to walk all the way around somet
    • "My BETTER suggestion/solution: a screen than can be gimbaled 360 degrees in the horizontal and 90 degrees in the vertical. Project 2 polarized HIGH-resolution images on it for high-resolution stereo imaging"

      Yeah but you are still tied to either the viewer inside a viewable area, looking out, with the screen moving around them, or the viewer outside the viewable area, looking in, with the screen moving around to follow their gaze.

      My even *better* suggestion is to mount the display on a *robot* that follow
  • OK, it's kind of wacky, but here's the scheme. The screen is just a flat piece of Scotchlite. This is a remarkable material that reflects almost all light directly back to where it came from. Obviously, this is just part of the scheme.

    The other part is the wacky goggles. These have projectors mounted above them with tiny LCD or OLED screens that project down through half-silvered 45 degree mirrors in front of each eye.

    So, the light from the projector is as if it's coming straight out of your pupil, an
  • I don't understand all of these negative posts. This equipment is obviously still in the very early stages of development and impractical for most people.

    This is an extremely common pattern in technology. A new product comes out and is only useful in a few niche markets, often analysing the very important (medicine), very small (molecules), or the very large (climate). Eventually the product matures and becomes useful to the larger society.

    I am delighted that people are working on 3D displays; I certainl
  • so really, this is a $40,000 crystal ball


    it does seem really cool. I just can't think of a practical use for it for myself, though I'm sure that one day they, or technology inspired from them, will be very important in some sectors.
  • The result looks to the viewer like a 3D image composed of 100 million "volume pixels" or "voxels".

    What is the dead pixel policy on that one?
  • So it must be perfect for playing Delta Force in 3D!

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.