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Illumination & Displays

A step toward holographic videoconferencing

University of Arizona
4 November 2010

Nasser Peyghambarian (U of Arizona photo)

A team led by SPIE Fellow Nasser Peyghambarian at the University of Arizona has developed a new type of holographic telepresence that allows the projection of a three-dimensional moving image without the need for special eyewear such as 3D glasses or other auxiliary devices.

The full-color, 3D display that refreshes every two seconds, and it has been used to send live images of a researcher in California to collaborators in Arizona. The technology is likely to take applications ranging from telemedicine, advertising, updatable 3D maps and entertainment to a new level.

The first video holographic display was made at MIT's Media Lab in 1989. The volume of the hologram was just 25 cubic millimeters, smaller than a thimble. A big challenge in creating larger displays has been the attempt to eliminate expensive optical components without sacrificing the refresh rate.

In the coming years, the researchers hope to develop a system that refreshes at standard video rates and can compete with other 3-D displays.

"At the heart of the system is a screen made from a novel photorefractive material, capable of refreshing holograms every two seconds, making it the first to achieve a speed that can be described as quasi-real-time," said Pierre-Alexandre Blanche, an assistant research professor in the UA College of Optical Sciences and lead author of a paper in the November 4 Nature.

The authors presented a paper on their work at SPIE Photonics West 2010: Future of photorefractive based holographic 3D display. Peyghambarian has published more than 200 papers and has chaired several conferences with SPIE.

University of Arizona press release
Story from Technology Review