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Displays The Military Technology Build

Real 3D Display; 3 Years Out? 191

Bob the Super Hamste writes "Fortune magazine is reporting that the company Zebra Imaging is producing a 3D hologram table that will project a 360 degree 3D image that doesn't require glasses. Funding for this project is being provided by DARPA for battle planning. The company expects it will take at least another three years for the table to be ready for commercial applications."
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Real 3D Display; 3 Years Out?

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  • What the heck is a "hogel"?
    Voxel is the correct term for the volume represented by a 3D pixel...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Aladrin ( 926209 ) []

      "In opposition to 2D pixels, hogels contain 3D information from various perspectives."

    • It's a low-rez 3d pixel - see minecraft!

    • What the heck is a "hogel"?.

      Is it a bagel? Is it a hoagie? No! It's a hogel! Come on down to Hogel Hut, where we're serving up the best hogel sandwiches in West Brooklyn. Come on down! Please? I mean it. I put my life savings into the hogel business and if this fails, I'm ruined.

    • by Urkki ( 668283 )

      I guess hogel is simply a holographic voxel. So comparing them would be roughly like comparing ordinary flat photograph to ordinary flat hologram. If not, then yeah, hogel is more or less synonym for voxel...

  • But I want to play chess with it, like they did in Star Wars: ANH

    • by Zakabog ( 603757 )

      That wouldn't be too hard. The kinect already does 3D spatial movement recognition, you just need the 3D holographic display which is what this provides. So this plus the kinect = holographic chess.

  • Is this a real hologram ? I doubt it, from the looks of it. Does anyone know the technology actually employed ?

    By the way, I believe that the 3-D term for a pixel is a Voxel. I have never heard of a hogel before.

      • That's not a technology, that's a term used to describe a 3d pixel (as opposed to 2d ones).

        A better term, already used by the CG industry is Voxel []

        • I don't think voxels contain perspective information.
        • by EdZ ( 755139 )
          Not the same thing. A Voxel is a volumetric pixel: it says that this volume of space is this colour (or whatever). A Hogel is more like a big pile of sprites: it says what this point looks like from these angles.
        • A hogel is different from a voxel in that it contains information that is specific to displaying it in a hologram. In particular diffraction patterns that holograms are composed of. This eases the computational burden of working out the diffraction fringe pattern you need in order to display it.
        • This analogy isn't quite true, but it seems to me that pixel:texel::voxel:hogel.
    • by Cyberax ( 705495 )

      From what I understood, they're planning to use phase shifters working in the optical range. How the hell they're going to do that is absolutely a mystery for me.

      Creating 'holograms' in radio frequencies is easy, that's what phased arrays do. They're trying to adapt this for much shorter wavelengths - and this gets very hard.

      • by nomel ( 244635 )

        Could it be something like light blue optics holographic pico projectors, but with some sort of layered setup?

        See the page marked 750 for summary of tech...any ideas based on this? []

        Awesome magazine btw...includes e-ink subcapsules and why plasmas burn-in in that issue.

        • by Cyberax ( 705495 )

          I'm interested in phase-modulation technology since I've seen one of the first computed holograms in 90-s. It looked a bit like the original 'pong' game would look now. I.e. extremely crude.

          If we've advanced to a level where it's possible to actually produce useful images - it'd be great.

    • Yes. It's basically the same as the infinite depth of field cameras, only with an LCD array instead of a CCD array behind each lenslet in the lenslet array. The idea is to simulate the actual rays of light that would be generated by light reflecting off of a point in 3d space. I can go into more detail if you want.
      • by ab8ten ( 551673 )
        I would like you to go into more detail, seeing as nobody else has yet!
        • Re:A real hologram ? (Score:4, Informative)

          by bmacs27 ( 1314285 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @03:41PM (#37754458)
          K. First of all, the google search term for research on this stuff is "light field," or more specifically "plenoptic light field." The logic works the same way for light field cameras (which allow you to focus the image post-hoc), and light field displays (which display the configuration of rays of light you would see were that 3d object really present). Basically you begin with an array of lenslets. Each lenslet has underneath it an array of pixels like you would have in a normal monitor. The idea for this sort of optical system came from studying compound eyes, and their depth of field. It turned out that because the lenses all had different nodal points, you could use the pixel stimulated underneath multiple different lenslets by the same object to effectively triangulate its position, and even do some post-hoc processing to come up with the image you would have received with lenses of different powers. Here are some papers on the original ideas, and their modern application to plenoptic light-field cameras:

          Adelson and Wang: []
          The most advanced implementation I know about, the Stanford light-field camera: []

          Anyway, the next realization is what should you see if you were actually looking at light reflecting off of objects in a 3d world. Well, light bounces off your nose or whatever, and scatters in various directions with some reflectance properties. Thus, if I were to rotate my viewing position about your nose, I'd see roughly similar wavelength rays of light emanating from that point (assuming diffuse reflection). So, to simulate that, you simply activate the pixel under each lenslet which when bent by that lenslet will send a columnated beam of light along the trajectory that intersects with the point in 3d space where I want to simulate your nose. Since you are activating pixels underneath many different lenslets to emit the rays reflected in each direction from that point, you can see that you are literally recreating the rays of light that would have been created by light reflecting off of that point in 3d space (at the limit with infinite resolution columnated beam widths, etc).

          Close enough?
    • Voxel is a pixel in a mapped 3D space, for a holographic display simply displaying voxel information you would run into the problem of being able to see things that are behind other things. Hogels have extra information that tells how light passes (or does not pass) through them at different angles - solving the problem of looking at a "solid" projection yet seeing what should be covered behind it.

      • Also, you have the added benefit of not needing to appropriately model the reflectance properties of surfaces in the environment as well as the positions are properties of the illuminants in the scene We all know ray tracing is slow. For example, this solves the problem of specular reflections, whereas a voxel representation effectively assumes diffuse reflection.
  • by vlm ( 69642 )

    Here is the race to watch:

    Which is faster to prototype / easier to bugfix / fails more gracefully / more reliable / scales better :

    1) A 3-d display for air traffic control or military battle equiv

    2) A computer / AI controlled air traffic control system or military battle equiv

    • though even if we develop the AI first, it'll still be nifty to have the 3D display to watch what the hell the computer is doing, or to interface with the AI.
  • When talking about 'real 3D displays' I always think of simulating a window pane. Current displays represent each small area (pixel) by a constant color that emits photons in a basically directionless fashion. We would commonly refer to this as a raster display, but I'll call it a raster-scalar display to differentiate it from a raster-vector display (the difference being analogous to the difference between scalar and vector fields). A raster-vector display would then represent each small area by varying

  • "I suggest a new strategy...let the Wookie win."
  • by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @12:05PM (#37751670)

    Holograms have been used in shows for a while, the problem with them is tha they are too computationally intensive for realtime use. The article only talks about still images, so I guess this is not a 3D television, more like a virtual diorama.

  • Might as well pass on the upcoming 3D star wars and wait for the holographic version where Darth Vader will be replaced George Lucas' neck.
  • The "article" sadly does not provide any meaningful information. Does anyone have any insight on how this thing works? Also, why do they name a 3D pixel a "hogel" (for holographic element) instead of the more usual (at least in other fields) "voxel"?

    • Because people are very silly and like making up as many buzzwords as they can think of. So far I have yet to find a practical difference between Hogel (shouldn't it be hologel?) and voxel (which should technically be volgel, but that sounds awkward). Some people are saying that a Hogel stores "perspective information for multiple angles" but that would be easily calculated from voxel data... I guess a hogel is a voxel with levels of detail and separate angle images prerendered instead of rendered in real-t
      • I think the issue is with occlusion. In order to do the conversion you are implying, occlusions would have to be resolved in real time (similar to a separate z-buffer for each angle). As you might imagine with this sort of application, space is cheaper than time. I think the primary concern has been with bandwidth, because you are right, that's a lot to pre-calculate and dump down a pipe.

        The other thing to remember is that voxels in the sense you are describing don't really make sense. For instance,
    • by nomel ( 244635 )

      I might be wrong, but I believe a voxel is like a 3d pixel in the information sense, where a hogel is closer to a physical display pixel.

    • by slyrat ( 1143997 )
      Well their page seems to have a bit more information and images at least. The motion displays [] page seemed useful. I didn't find anything that looked like the image on the fortune magazine page.
  • The first person who utters the words "Minority Report" will be summarily stabbed in the face with a Buick. Please, people, get over yourselves.
  • Cool stuff. Reminds me of the Time Traveler [] video game back from the early 90s. It was fascinating if crude technology back then and I have always been wondering why, with better technology, similar concepts weren't being used today. Well, I guess someone finally stepped up to the plate. Hopefully this will encourage some innovation and creativity in the field of holograms. (o:

  • So we are 3 years from a holographic unit and 3 years + 2 months from the first holographic porno.

    • by MrMickS ( 568778 )

      Nah. The porn industry will be the first to buy cameras. They will be ready from day one.

  • I have RTFA but nowhere does it explain how it works - just some vague notes on how data is crunched.

    Does the display look like the picture in the Fortune Tech page, with actual 3D images that appear before other things around it?

    If this is the case, then this is a major innovation. Why isn't it being reported anywhere else?


    • by mugnyte ( 203225 )

      its a hologram, subject to many of the same limitations. It has higher clarity and color, but it's still static. It cannot project beyond the borders of the image.

  • A 3D display in three years
    A 4D display in four years

APL hackers do it in the quad.