Sony demos prototype ‘holographic’ display

21 Jul 2010

When Hollywood movie star Gloria Swanson uttered the famous line, “All right, Mr DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup,” little did she realise that the movies of the future would involve a 360-degree ‘holographic’ view as well as high definition.

Engineers at Sony’s Tokyo base have developed a prototype 360-degree autostereoscopic display called RayModeler, allowing viewers to see full colour volumetric objects from all angles, as if the objects really exist.

This volumetric 3D display is the stuff of science fiction. From the appearance of Princess Leia in 3D holographic format to the giant holographic shark from the billboard ad in Back to the Future II, this has long been on our futuristic technology wish list (along with the flux capacitor and light saber, of course).

Sony will be demonstrating this technology next week at the SIGGRAPH 2010 convention and the display uses special LED light sources showing 360 unique images to all directions in one-degree separations.

Sony says: “We can sense the depth of the object because our left and right eyes see different images. No special 3D glasses are needed to see the 3D images.”

The cylindrical display measures 13cm in diameter and 27cm in height. It has a digital video input port and can be connected to a PC. A graphic processor generates the 3D image in real time.

It is possible to move and interact with the object inside the display by moving your hand because it is equipped with a gesture sensor but even more impressive is the prototype demonstration of a game of a 3D Tetris-like game where the player can see in and around the circular wall of bricks as he plays.

There’s no word on when this will reach general release but we can’t wait! Watch the video here.