Jul 06

Pinlight Display: Light Field Glasses for Augmented-Reality Applications

Nvidia Pinlight Display: Light Field Glasses for Augmented-Reality Applications (picture: Siggraph 2014 website) Earlier this year at Augmented World Expo, Nvidia researcher Douglas Lanman gave a talk about Near-Eye Light Field displays, i.e. electronic glasses which allow users to experience both 3D and depth. When asked about Augmented Reality (AR) applications during the discussion, Lanman noted that creating a set of transparent glasses that would also include microlenses (or something equivalent) but still allow “normal” see-through vision, was a real challenge. He very briefly teased “pinlight displays”, which were to be presented at the same conference, but no further information could be found online.

In the Emerging Technologies section of the Siggraph 2014 conference (10-14 August 2014), Adam Maimone and colleagues from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Nvidia will be presenting their new invention in a talk entitled “Pinlight Displays: Wide-Field-of-View Augmented-Reality Eyeglasses Using Defocused Point-Light Sources”. Continue reading

Jun 06

Nvidia Near-Eye Light Field Display: Background, Design and History [Video]

Nvidia Near-Eye Light Field Display: Binocular OLED-based prototype (Youtube Screenshot) About a year ago, Nvidia presented a novel head-mounted display that is based on light field technology and offers both depth and refocus capability to the human eye. Their so-called Near-Eye Light Field Display was more a proof of concept, but it’s exciting new technology that solves a number of existing problems with stereoscopic virtual reality glasses.

Nvidia researcher Douglas Lanman recently gave a talk at Augmented World Expo (AWE2014), in which he explained the background and evolution of head-mounted displays and the history and design of Nvidia’s near-eye light field display prototypes: Continue reading

May 27

MIT: Compressive Light Field Projection System for new Glasses-Free 3D Displays

Illustration of concept. A light field projector, build using readily-available optics and electronics, emits a 4D light field onto a screen that expands the field of view so that observers on the other side of the screen can enjoy glasses-free 3D entertainment. No mechanically moving parts are used in either the projector or the screen. Additionally, the screen is completely passive, potentially allowing for the system to be scaled to significantly larger dimensions. (picture: MIT Media Lab, Camera Culture Group)Today’s glasses-free 3D displays ususally consist of dozens of devices, which makes them not only very complex, but also bulky, energy-consuming and costly. At SIGGRAPH 2014 conference, Gordon Wetzstein and Matthew Hirsch from the MIT’s Camera Culture Group presented a new approach to glasses-free 3D that is based on projectors and optical technology found in Keplerian telescopes. Their novel method for “Compressive Light Field Projection” consists of a single device without mechanically moving parts.
Because it’s relatively cheap to build with today’s optics and electronics, the presented prototype could pave the way for cinema-scale glasses-free 3D displays. Continue reading

Apr 25

Hybrid Camera for High-Resolution Software Refocus and Improved Depth of Field

Improving Resolution and Depth-of-Field of Light Field Cameras Using a Hybrid Imaging System (picture: Boominathan et al. 2014) In comparison to conventional digital cameras, current light field cameras are still limited in spatial resolution and depth of field control. Using a new camera combination, Vivek Boominathan and colleagues from Rice University were able to lift these limitations.
In a recent publication, the authors present a prototype hybrid imaging system consisting of a Lytro light field camera (380 x 380 pixel spatial resolution) and a conventional Canon DSLR (18 megapixel resolution). The setup doesn’t require co-location or prior calibration of the two cameras. In conjunction with a “simple patch-based algorithm”, the researchers were able to produce a high-resolution light field with 9 times the Lytro camera’s resolution and about 1/9th of the camera’s depth of field. Continue reading

Oct 04

Toshiba Dual-Camera Module with Software Refocus for Smartphones

Toshiba TCM9518MD Dual-Camera module with Software Refocus for Smartphones (picture: Toshiba) Tech-Giant Toshiba first appeared in the “refocus market” several months ago, when news got out about a tiny light field camera module for smartphones and tablets in development. According to the original report, the prototype was scheduled for mass production “by the end of fiscal 2013″.
Last week, Toshiba officially announced a smartphone camera module with refocus capability, but it’s quite different from the products that were described earlier this year: Instead of a single 1 cm2 camera module with 8-13 megapixel sensor, 500,000 microlenses and effective resolutions of 2 megapixels (6 MP in the second prototype), the new prototype dubbed TCM9518MD consists of two 5 megapixel cameras, a Large Scale Integrated (LSI) chip and no microlenses at all.

In an official press release, Toshiba announced that the dual-camera module will offer software refocus and other features, but not 3D functionality. The module is priced at 5000 Yen (approx. 52 USD, 38 EUR). Working samples will be available in January 2014, and mass production is set for April 2014.

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