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Large Holographic 3D Displays for Tomorrows TV


and Monitors Solutions, Challenges, and Prospects
(Invited Paper)
Stephan Reichelt, Ralf Haussler, Norbert Leister, Gerald Futterer, and Armin Schwerdtner
SeeReal Technologies GmbH
Blasewitzer Str. 43, 01307 Dresden, Germany
Email: sre@seereal.com

Abstract Novel solutions for large real-time holographic 3D


displays are presented. The holographic display combines a
tailored holographic recording scheme with active tracking of
the observer. This approach dramatically reduces the demand for
the space-bandwidth product of the hologram and thus allows
the use of state-of-the-art spatial light modulators and enables
real-time calculation. The fundamentals and challenges of the
holographic display technology are described, its implementation
in prototypes is demonstrated, and the bright prospects for the
3D display market are discussed.

I. I NTRODUCTION
Holographic television, commonly regarded as the holy grail
of holography [1], is one of the most promising and challenging developments for the future display market. Only holography provides all depth cues and thus allows the reconstruction
of natural-looking 3D scenes. Recently, we have developed
a novel approach to real-time display holography overcoming
the challenges of classic holography by combining an overlapping sub-hologram technique with a tracked viewing-window
technology [2], [3]. For the first time, this approach enables
solutions for large screen interactive holographic displays.
II. R EAL - TIME HOLOGRAPHIC DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY
Thus far the most serious restriction of video holography
has been the dynamic representation of the hologram by an
electrically addressed spatial light modulator (SLM) having a
pixelized structure with limited spatial resolution. The amount
of information which can be encoded in the hologram is
directly related to the spatial resolution and the size of the
SLM. This fact is represented by the dimensionless spacebandwidth product SBP = x bx y by with being the maximum spatial frequency and b the width of the modulator
in x and y direction. Considering conventional holography,
different areas of the digital hologram encode the wave field
originating from another perspective of the object. To put it the
other way around, each pixel of the hologram contributes to
each point of the 3D object. This corresponds to a huge amount
of information which even if large SLM with tiny pixels
would be available must still be handled in data processing
and computing.
Accordingly, the primary objective of conventional holography is to reconstruct the 3D object in space which can be seen
binocularly from different view points at different perspectives.
In contrast to that, our approach to digital display holography

978-1-4244-1932-6/08/$25.00 2008 IEEE

strongly takes the last optical element of the imaging chain


into account: the human eyes with its limited angular spectrum acceptance, accommodation depth, resolution, etc. The
fundamental idea is to reconstruct a limited angular spectrum
of the wave field of the 3D object which is adapted in size to
about the humans eye entrance pupil. The designated area, i.e.
the virtual viewing window from which an observer can see
the proper holographic reconstruction is located at the Fourier
plane of the holographic display and it corresponds to the
zero-order extension of the underlying SLM cross grating.
A. The sub-hologram concept
The principle of our holographic approach is depicted in
Fig. 1. A positive lens (L+) images the light source into the
observer plane and creates the spherical reference wave for
hologram illumination. The inherent regular SLM structure
generates a diffraction pattern in the far field whose zero-order
extension is the viewing window (VW) where the eye of the
observer is located.
Given small angles, the size of the viewing window is
obtained from the grating equation and trigonometry to
wx,y =

d
,
px,y

(1)

with d being the observer distance, the wavelength and p the


pixel pitch of the SLM in x or y direction, respectively. Only
within the viewing window the information of the wave field
of the 3D object has to be existent. Vice versa this implies that

194

L+

SLM
Part of the
3D scene
p

Light
source

VW
w

SH

Fig. 1.

Schematic principle of the sub-hologram concept.

each point of the scene (which can be considered as a pointlike emitter for interference based hologram modeling) is associated with a locally limited area of the hologram. Size and position of this so-called sub-hologram (SH) is defined via simple
projection from the edges of the viewing window through the
scene point that has to be encoded. By superimposing all subholograms, i.e. strictly speaking the angular limited complex
amplitudes Un (x, y) = An (x, y) exp [in (x, y)] emanating
from each of the n scene points, the entire hologram is
composed. Since the complex amplitudes have to be calculated
only within each sub-hologram area, the computational effort
is dramatically reduced which enables a real-time hologram
calculation. A beneficial side effect of that special holographic
recording scheme is the reduced demand for the temporal
coherence of the light source which must have at least a
coherence length of NF , where NF is the Fresnel number of
the maximum sub-hologram. Parallax information is delivered
within the viewing window, which may be either in fullparallax or single-parallax, depending on the recording scheme
of the hologram and the overall optical setup.
B. Holographic displays based on tracked viewing windows
For a static hologram the reconstructed 3D object can be
seen from a single viewing window only. Advantageously,
dynamic holography offers the additional freedom of temporal
or temporal-multiplex operation. By incorporating a tracking
system which detects the eye positions of one or more viewers
very fast and precisely and repositions the viewing window
accordingly, a dynamic 3D holographic display can be realized
which circumvents all problems involved with the classic
approach to holography. The steering of the viewing window
can be done in different ways, either by shifting the light
source and thus shifting the image of the light source, or by
placing an additional element close to the SLM that realizes
a variable prism function [4]. 3D content can be visualized
as stationary scenes where the user can look around objects
or fixed perspective 3D scenes where all users see the same
perspectives. Depending which mode is chosen the hologram
is entirely new synthesized or the positions of the subholograms is shifted only.
III. I MPLEMENTATIONS AND PROTOTYPES
Our novel holographic approach has been successfully
demonstrated by prototypes having 20-inch diagonal1 . The
second generation of this direct view holographic display
(VISIO 20) comprises a grayscale amplitude-modulating
liquid crystal SLM with a 3 5 megapixel resolution with
a pixel pitch of px = 156 m and py = 52 m, an operation frequency of 60 Hz with a relatively slow response
time of 30 ms (Fig. 2). The used 1D hologram encoding
(here vertical-parallax only) is a common practice to further
reduce bandwidth requirements and is well-suited for the
given pixel arrangement and geometry. The optical scheme
of the prototype, comprehensively described in [2], is as
1 Presented

at SID 2007 (Long Beach) and Display 2008 (Tokyo)

Fig. 2.

20-inch direct view prototype (VISIO 20).

follows. Light coming from an RGB-LED backlight is mostly


blocked by a first LC display which acts as shutter or variable
secondary light source. Only those pixels which are switched
on transmit the light, and thus a variable (secondary) line light
source is realized having a spatial coherence corresponding to
the pixel opening. Secondary line light sources and arrayed
cylindrical lenses (lenticular) are aligned such, that all light
source images coincide onto the tracked viewing
P window. In
the SLM the sum of all complex amplitudes
Un (x, y) is
encoded by combining three amplitude-modulating pixel for
each complex value [5]. Two viewing windows delivering
slightly different holographic perspectives of the scene are
generated by a vertically aligned lenticular beamsplitter and an
interlaced (horizontally multiplexed) hologram. High-precision
user tracking is realized by a stereo camera incorporated
in the holographic display and advanced eye recognition
algorithms combined with active light source shifting by
the shutter panel. Holographic reconstruction is performed
either in monochrome (optionally R, G, or B with 60 Hz) or
temporally-multiplexed in full-color at a low frame rate of
10 Hz.
IV. C ONCLUSION
In conclusion, a novel approach for real-time holography
that has a strong market potential for displays and TV has
been presented. Further development will focus on brightness
and tracking range enhancement as well as full-color reconstruction in real-time.
R EFERENCES
[1] S. A. Benton and V. M. Bove, Holographic Imaging. John Wiley and
Sons, 2008.
[2] A. Schwerdtner, N. Leister, and R. Haussler, A new approach to electroholography for TV and projection displays, in SID-Proc., 2007, 32.3.
[3] A. Schwerdtner, R. Haussler, and N. Leister, A new approach to
electro-holographic displays for large object reconstructions, in OSA
Technical Digest on Digital Holography. OSA, 2007, PMA5.
[4] N. R. Smith, D. C. Abeysinghe, J. W. Haus, and J. Heikenfeld, Agile wide-angle beam steering with electrowetting microprisms, Optics
Express, vol. 14, pp. 65576563, 2006.
[5] C. B. Burckhardt, A simplification of Lees method of generating
holograms by computer, Appl. Opt., vol. 9, no. 8, pp. 19491949, 1970.

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