Apple exploring interactive, glasses-free 3D holographic displays

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
As 3D is pushed as the next big thing in Hollywood films and home theater, Apple has show interest in a three-dimensional interactive experience that would allow multiple users to manipulate holographic 3D objects in space without the need for special glasses or headgear.



The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week revealed a new patent application from Apple. Originally filed on Jan. 14 of 2010, the application entitled "Three-Dimensional Display System" describes a projection screen with an "angularly responsive reflective surface."



The 18-page filing is very similar to another 25-page filing discovered by AppleInsider in 2008. But in addition to advanced 3D technology, Apple's latest filing describes a new and advanced method of multi-touch input, through manipulation of three-dimensional holograms that can be touched by a user.



The new application notes that while 3D has been popular at various points over many years, it usually falls out of favor because users are not interested in wearing the eyewear that is often required to render a three-dimensional image for the viewer.



"While these approaches have been generally successful," the application says, "they have not met with widespread acceptance because observers generally do not like to wear equipment over their eyes. In addition, such approaches are impractical, and essentially unworkable, for projecting a 3D image to one or more casual passerby, to a group of collaborators, or to an entire audience such as when individual projects are desired. Even when identical projections are presented, such situations have required different and relatively undeveloped technologies, such as conventional autostereoscopic displays."







The described invention is a display system that delivers a 3D picture and interactive interface without the need for headgear or glasses. It provides two embodiments: one of a traditional stereoscopic 3D display, while another describes a "realistic holographic 3D display experience."



"The positions of one or more observers are also tracked in real time so that the images that are being projected to the observers can be continually customized to each observer individually," the application reads. "The real time positional tracking of the observer(s) also enables 3D images having a realistic vertical as well as horizontal parallax."



It continues: "In addition, each 3D image can be adjusted according to the observers' individually changing viewing positions, thereby enabling personally customized and individuated 3D images to be viewed in a dynamic and changeable environment. Further, the positional tracking and positionally responsive image adjustment enable synthetization of true holographic viewing experiences."







The application states that the invention would need a number of "building blocks" for it to work, including:



A two-dimensional projector, including analog mirrors, a polygon scanner or similar device, and driver circuitry.

A 3D imager (which may be part of the 2D projector).

A projection screen having a surface function.

A display interface.

A digital signal processor.

A host central processing unit with 3D rendering capability.

The described 3D display is accomplished by a screen deflecting images into observers' respective left and right eyes. An advanced camera system would sync with the projection system, ensuring that the light beam for the left and right images would correctly reach the observer's respective left and right eyes.



The application also describes an "unobtrusive 3D virtual desktop" which would allow users to "manipulate objects within the desktop by reaching into the virtual display" and "grasping" and "pushing" the objects. It describes a new form of interacting with a computer, this time accomplishing multi-touch with projected objects in a 3D space.







"The manipulation of the virtual objects occurs because the feedback mechanism recognizes observer movements, such as finger movements, at the locations of the virtual objects and reconfigures the display of the virtual objects in response," it states.



The invention of a "Three-Dimensional Display System" is credited to Christoph H. Krah, who was also credited with multi-touch applications related to tactile keyboards and computer mice for Apple.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    I was thinking the two Iron Man films.. I hope I'd live long enough to see that kind of technology...
  • Reply 2 of 24
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,181member
    I think the term holographic is used too liberally here. I take my own holographic pictures and I can tell you there is a world of difference between any computer display and real holograms.
  • Reply 3 of 24
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,736member
    If anyone is going to bring us the 'Holodeck' my money is on Apple
  • Reply 4 of 24
    prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    As 3D is pushed as the next big thing in Hollywood films and home theater, ...



    Not that it has a lot to do with the article, but it bears mentioning that 3D has been the "next big thing in Hollywood films" since about 1952 or so (almost 60 years! now)
  • Reply 5 of 24
    spotonspoton Posts: 645member
    The Hollywood 3D craze is all about making TV screens harder to record in my opinion.



    thoughts?
  • Reply 6 of 24
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post


    The Hollywood 3D craze is all about making TV screens harder to record in my opinion.



    thoughts?



    I don't know, but I hope they don't go there. Or, at least, I hope that 3D movies have the ability to be played in 2D.



    I have little or no depth perception due to amblyopia when I was young. Watching 3D movies gives me a headache - and there are millions more people in the same situation.
  • Reply 7 of 24
    Now, combine THIS announcement wiht the recent patent investigation where Apple registered a way to detect the distance of a users fingers from the multi-touch displays (http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...ty_sensor.html) and you could have a visual interface where users could work on virtual objects, simply pulling them out of their display.
  • Reply 8 of 24
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    Sometimes I wonder if Apple is releasing these notes just for the pleasure of seeing the "me too, wannabe" competition jump around on a project because Apple is "working" on one?...



    Like the Verizon / Google iPad killer wannabe tablet... no specs, no pricing, no demo, no release date, just, "We're working on...".



    As the current hot tech company, Apple could patent a special cardboard box right now and the "kool-aid drinking" competition would want their version!



    3D glasses = Apple humor!
  • Reply 9 of 24
    bc kellybc kelly Posts: 148member
    .



    Article says



    "The manipulation of the virtual objects occurs because the feedback mechanism recognizes observer movements, such as finger movements, at the locations of the virtual objects and reconfigures the display of the virtual objects in response"

    .



    Manipulation

    Feedback

    Movement

    Finger

    Response



    Remind you of anyone ?

    .



    Introducing the iHooker



    Take one for a ... ahem, "test drive"





    .



  • Reply 10 of 24
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,131member
    ^ Sick of these posts... Another one for the Ignore list.
  • Reply 11 of 24
    t2aft2af Posts: 44member
    was thinking of something like this just the other night .. it's got to be the only realistic solution, a nice hybrid of a couple of technologies out there ..
  • Reply 12 of 24
    echosonicechosonic Posts: 447member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    ^ Sick of these posts... Another one for the Ignore list.



    it was amusing. you should unclench your butt cheeks.
  • Reply 13 of 24
    Wow, if Apple pulls this off, it'll certainly make watching porn much more enjoyable.
  • Reply 14 of 24
    Is apple really paying that close attention to nintendo? Nintendo was demonstratic holographic stuff at e3 around 2002 I think . They say Copying is the sincerest form of flattery .



    I guess they will wait and see if the 3ds sells a lot first.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    Lets patent it so we can file a lawsuit later......



    patents are getting easier, surely its now time to reform the patent law and make them demonstrate these products before they are allowed......
  • Reply 16 of 24
    tofinotofino Posts: 697member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by majortom1981 View Post


    Is apple really paying that close attention to nintendo? Nintendo was demonstratic holographic stuff at e3 around 2002 I think . They say Copying is the sincerest form of flattery .



    I guess they will wait and see if the 3ds sells a lot first.



    2002? Try 1995... Nintendo Virtual Boy FTW!
  • Reply 17 of 24
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,131member
    I'm not seeing any actual holographic component to this display, the description "realistic holographic 3D display experience" gives away the actual intent. It simulates a holographic-style display, but no holographic technology is involved.
  • Reply 18 of 24
    "Help me, Obi Wan. You're my only hope."
  • Reply 19 of 24
    tofinotofino Posts: 697member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple 1984 View Post


    "Help me, Obi Wan. You're my only hope."



    nice as that would be, i'm still waiting for my jetpack...
  • Reply 20 of 24
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tofino View Post


    nice as that would be, i'm still waiting for my jetpack...



    yeah, I'm still waiting for my hovercraft too!
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