NAB 2009: Holography Comes True

The holographic images being demonstrated in the north hall may not seem spectacular to the untrained eye, but TVB correspondent Mark Schubin’s assessment is unequivocal.

“This is the most exciting thing I’ve seen at NAB in my 37 years of doing NAB,” he said. “It was beyond anything I could have expected ... they have actual electronic holography.”

They are the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, a Japanese national entity.

“It’s like the holy grail ... what all media is theoretically doing toward. This is not stereoscopy. This is real 3D of everything. You don’t need glasses,” he said.

NICT’s holography is very crude and at cursory glance, unimpressive. Schubin said most onlookers were underwhelmed. The display consists of an optical table resembling a slab of granite with a bunch of lenses and mirrors controlled by micrometers moving them fractionally.

“The pictures sucks, it’s tremendously noisy, but it exists, and it hasn’t before,” he said.

Capture mechanism for the holography

NICT, in booth No. N925, is also demonstrating what Schubin described as “minor stuff,” but nonetheless unique to NAB.

One is life-like, 3D audio processing.

“There’s a room where you can walk around and hear musicians; as you walk around or between the flute and string player,” Schubin said. “It’s as if you’re there in person, but it’s just audio. You’re just walking around speakers. “

Another display features a tactile 3D experience.

“You put on shutter 3D glasses, look at an ancient Japanese mirror on a screen, hold a pen in your hand. You push it to the mirror, and you feel it pushing back. You can feel the texture of mirror and the frame,” he said.

The mirror is merely a picture on the screen, and the user isn’t actually touching the pen to it.

One other notable display involved a cube with what appeared to be a soccer ball inside of it that looked like the real deal as the viewer moved around it, but was actually a projection on a set of lenticular LCDs.

However, it was the crude holography that delighted the veteran video engineer who’s walked hundreds of miles on the Las Vegas Convention Center floor over the years.

“To me, this is like looking in on John Logie Baird’s first TV image in 1925,” he said.

By Mark Schubin, Television Broadcast