At this year’s SIGGRAPH conference, currently taking place in Anaheim CA, tech blog Engadget spotted an unusual participant in the “Emerging Technologies” section. Douglas Lanman and David Luebke from the research labs at graphics processing specialist Nvidia presented what may be considered a prototype of the future of Virtual Reality: a near-eye light field display.
But what does it do?
Microlens arrays, which are mounted just in front of the high resolution displays, are used to convert pixels to individual light rays, thus creating a light field directly in front of the eye. The viewer is thus able to refocus at multiple depths into the scene.
3D displays are slowly moving into mainstream, but most of the technologies used today require the viewers to wear special 3D glasses, or watch from a very defined, small optimum viewpoint. More advanced 3D displays use eye tracking, and create a stereoscopic effect by specifically sending different images to either eye.
David Fattal and colleagues from HP Laboratories in Palo Alto, California developed a new approach to glasses-free 3D displays, which comes with a number of improvements: Their prototype displays use multi-directional diffractive backlight technology, which makes them particularly well-suited for mobile devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, or watches). They’re high-resolution, very thin (<1 mm), don’t require eye tracking, and feature a very wide view zone (up to 180 degrees) at an observation distance of up to a metre. Their work was recently published in Nature.
Are you really interested in the details of Lytro’s LightField Camera? Is the official information not enough for you?
Here are some interesting bits & pieces of information about Lytro’s LightField Camera that have accumulated in my virtual notebook over the last few months.
All of these details were mentioned on the web and/or in public presentations (sources are given at the end of the article), but they’re not quite as publically available as the standard information. One of these presentations was a technical introduction to plenoptic imaging by Lytro CTO Kurt Akeley at the University of Washington, titled “A different perspective on the Lytro light field camera”.
How many microlenses are in a Lytro camera?
Interacting with a Living Pictures on a small screen just doesn’t do the technology justice: Reviewing the images directly on the camera’s 1.52 inch display gives you an idea of whether the image is refocusable, but the effect is obviously much better on a computer screen. But is a standard 27 inch screen enough?
Lytro-Fan Axel Schuch shows us what it’s like to view and interact with Lytro Living Pictures on a very big touch screen: Continue reading
The recording of LightField data has just recently made a leap into consumer technology, but that’s just one side of the technology. Scientists have also tried to create LightField Displays - that is, displays that don’t just create two-dimensional pictures on a flat surface, but rather send out light rays in all possible the directions and thus create three-dimensional images that change depending on the viewers position.
Now, a team of scientists at Zhejiang University (China) have made a big step forward in creating an interactive LightField 3D Display.