Cars, Bars and Wannabe Stars
Creating a Digital Music Empire
Blazing a Trail in Home Recording
Bluetooth Comes to Your Notebook
Put Transit Time to Work
IT's Happening at Comdex
The effect was not unlike the famous special effect in Star Wars where R2D2 projects a holographic display. But unlike R2D2's grainy video, the images at Comdex were often as vivid and concrete as real objects.
And unlike most other 3D displays, Dimensional Media's does not require special glasses or any kind of headgear.
"It's magic," said Anna Zharkova, an event manager from Russia, who was running around the booth like a headless chicken. "I cannot believe it. It's just magic."
Her colleague, Natasya Savina, said: "I think it is incredible. I never thought at this exhibition to see something so wondrous. Everything is quite common. But this is so new, so amazing. Next year, I would like to use it for myself so that my image can be at the booth, and I can be somewhere else."
Dimensional Media, which is based in New York, originally developed the technology for the military with funding from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The military wanted a true, volumetric 3D display that didn't require special glasses or complex electronics.
The simplest version of the technology is based on a system of mirrors and lenses. The object whose image is being projected sits inside a pedestal, which projects the object's light into space above the pedestal, where the image is reformed. The effect is as if the object itself is hovering above the pedestal's surface.
The company also demonstrated video versions of the technology, which projected video images in 3D.
The Russians played with a 3D teller-machine whose buttons floated in space in front off the viewer. To activate the system's virtual "buttons," the viewer simply pointed a finger at the image of the button. The system uses a grid of infrared lights -- similar to systems in stores that beep when a shopper enters -- to calculate the position of the viewer's finger.
Dimensional Media said its images are already starting to turn up in advertising displays at shopping malls and airports around the world, and they should become quite common this year as more and more are installed.
"We are really starting to sell these systems," said CEO Daniel Pfeffer.
Dimensional Media said the company will start testing the first volumetric 3D computer monitor early next year, which it hopes to sell to medical providers, the military and CAD/CAM companies.
Pfeffer said for the first time, the display will give viewers full "look around" of a projected image.
"I could project the image of your face and have full look-around, like you were really in front of me," he said.
As an example of its use, Pfeffer said the monitor could project X-Ray or NMR data in 3D, creating a precise image of the inside of a patient's skull and the location of, say, a tumor. The display could then overlay another image onto the patient's actual skull, showing the surgeon the exact place to cut.
"It's the most unbelievable technology," he said.
Have a comment on this article? Send it.
Printing? Use this version.
E-mail this to a friend.
Related Wired Links:
The Lightness in Being Innovative
Nov. 16, 2000
A New Way to Look at Optical
Nov. 9, 2000
Screens Mean True 3-D For PCs
Sep. 25, 2000
405: Filmmakers' Road to Success
Aug. 12, 2000
Guggenheim Going Virtual
Jun. 9, 2000
Giving PCs a New Dimension
May. 26, 2000
Terms and Conditions
© 2000 Wired Digital Inc., a Lycos Network site. All rights reserved.