Star Trek-style 3-D Displays Make their Debut

Star Trek's holodeck is a famous science fiction concept. Crewmembers could walk through the garden of their childhood home, re-enact famous historical events or watch full, 3-D performances of famous plays. The holodeck is still science fiction, but last year researchers took the first, confident steps towards its realisation with the Coherent project. This EU-funded research project, developed a commercial, true 3-D display that could one day be called Holodeck version 1.0. It is called HoloVizio.

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The HoloVizio is a 3-D screen that will allow designers to visualise true 3-D models of cars, engines or components. Better yet, gesture recognition means that observers can manipulate the models by waving their hands in front of the screen. The function offers enormous scope for collaboration across the globe.

"The aim of the Coherent project was to create a new networked holographic audio-visual platform to support real-time collaborative 3-D interaction between geographically distributed teams," explains Akos Demeter, spokesperson for the project.

Two applications drove the design of the basic networked audiovisual components – a collaborative visualisation system for the medical sector and a collaborative design review system for the automotive industry. The researchers based the display component on innovative holographic techniques that can present, at natural human interaction scale, realistic animated 3-D images simultaneously to an unlimited number of freely moving viewers. The upshot is that users do not need goggles, and the 3-D image is maintained as they move about – both in contrast with early attempts at holographic displays.

Source: ICT