Is Volumetric Imaging the Future of 3D?
A volumetric 3D display device projects 3D images directly into a true 3D volume in space that can be viewed by the naked eye without the need for any special 3D glasses. Viewers can walk around a 3D image, look at it from different angles, and get a realistic sense of depth, just as though they were looking at the real physical object. Such a 3D display provides both physiological and psychological depth cues to human viewers for truthfully perceiving objects in 3D space.
Dr. Jason Geng, scientist, IEEE member, and founder of Xigen 3D (Rockville, MD, USA) published a patent and created a working volumetric display prototype based on a DLP projector and a synchronised rotating double helix screen. A big XilinX Virtex 5 processor processes voxels at a rate of 150 Millions per second to drive the display. The actual display is black and white only but an improved full color version will be developed.
How it Works
To re-create the volume of the original object on the volumetric display, a helix screen is rotated in sync with the DLP which projects images at a very high refresh rate. When the helix screen intercepts each pixel (which, due to its shape, will constantly move along the z-axis), it shows up as a pixel in space (called a voxel). This process happens so fast that, thanks to the persistence of vision phenomena, the brain adds the points together over time to see one volumetric 3D image without the need to wear glasses.
The figure above shows a photo of a sample 3D image displayed on the DLP/Helix system. Unfortunately, since the photo is 2D, the real volumetric 3D effect is lost. The system is of course able to display dynamic 3D video sequences. The 3D images displayed on the volumetric 3D monitor have a see-through transparency feature that lets viewers see both the foreground and background structures, thus increasing the efficiency of understanding 3D spatial relationships.
Applications in many domains are envisioned, including for radiation therapy planning.
About Dr. Jason Geng
Dr. Jason Geng has over 100 technical papers and one book published in the 3D imaging fields. He founded Xigen LLC, a Maryland-based company specialized in advanced 3D imaging and display technologies and products. He received the “Rising Star” award and ranked #291 by Deloitte & Touché on the lists of Fast 500 Growing companies in US and Canada. He also received prestigious national honors, including the Tibbetts Award from US SBA and was ranked #257 as INC magazine’s INC 500 company.
Dr. Geng was honored by DARPA as one of the 200 top scientists in US as the “Scientist helping America”. He has served on review panels for National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, and US Army Medical Research Commands. He is inventor of 23 issued patents (read the the most relevant one). Dr. Geng currently serves as the vice president for IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society (ITSS) and chairman of ITSS standard committee and ITSS membership committee.
Source: Spie Illumination and Displays (July 23, 2012)