SeeReal cracks holographic TV and PC displays

German company claims to overcome 3D problems of pixel resolution and excessive real-time processing requirements

Simon Aughton
25 May 2007

Holographic displays could soon be coming to the workplace and homes, claims a German company, SeeReal. It has developed a new technology for displaying 3D images on a TV set or computer display, or through a projector.

SeeReal unveiled a prototype at this week's Society for International Display (SID) forum in California. It says the display overcomes the two significant challenges that have prevented 3D technology from becoming a mainstream technology since holograms were invented 60 years ago.

The first is insufficient display resolution. In order to achieve a viewing angle of 60° in holographic displays, a pixel pitch of about one wavelength is required; for a 47in display, that typically corresponds to approximately 250,000 times HDTV resolution.

The second is inadequate data volume and processing requirements. Computation of each pixel's value requires significantly more steps than for a regular 2D display. Multiplied with the greatly increased pixel quantity required, enormous computational power is needed and real time video quality holograms thus typically require up to several hundred petaflops of processor punch.

SeeReal's breakthrough is the development of what it calls Tracked Viewing Window technology. This limits pixel size to HDTV levels and in combination with a real-time tracking system, eliminates superfluous elements while reducing the need for real-time processing.

'While there have been impressive developments in 3D display technology over the past decade, the remaining visual conflicts between natural viewing and 3D visualisation need to be eliminated in order for 3D to be integrated as a universal consumer product,' said SeeReal's chief scientific officer, Dr Armin Schwerdtner.

'Since the only alternative able to perfectly substitute natural viewing is holography, SeeReal has spent the last four years developing this approach that overcomes the obstacles that have historically prevented holography from mainstream displays. And today, we have the solution.'

CEO Mark Thorsen added: 'The next step will be to finalise consumer product prototypes together with one or more technology partners. We already have a number of promising contacts in this respect.'

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