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DESCRIPTION OF A 3D VOLUMETRIC LASER DISPLAY SYSTEM
EDITORS NOTE: Many
readers have asked us for an article on the emerging technology of 3D
volumetric displays. We have requested Robert (Bob) Belfatto, Vice President
of NEOS Technologies (Melbourne, Florida) and one of the speakers at Laser
F/X '95 to explain the NEOS helix-based volumetric display. Volumetric displays create true 3D images that appear in a volume of space.
You can see different parts of the image by moving your observation point as
the image has vertical and horizontal parallax. No 3D glasses or special
viewing equipment is required to observe the image.
The 3D volumetric display system allows true three-dimensional
visualization of computer-generated images. The three colour beam from the
system's lasers are guided by the acousto-optic deflectors to a display
Helical Display System
The volumetric display system is comprised of three major subsystems: 1) a laser optics system; 2) a computer based controller, and 3) a helical display assembly (Figure 1).
The laser optics system creates, modulates and projects laser beams onto
the display medium. The computer-based controller processes instructions and
other data. It generates the electronic modulation and deflection signals
that control the laser scanner and converts the beam into imaging pulses.
The helical display is a volumetric medium that uses simple optical and
mechanical principles to transform the scanned laser pulses into visible
The configuration of this surface allows its interaction with a vertical
laser beam to be easily expressed in simple mathematical terms. Referring to
the Cartesian co-ordinate system in figure 1, any planar position (x, y)
assumed by the vertical laser beam in concert with any angle of rotation (q)
of the helix, is sufficient to predetermine the vertical position (z) of the
Basically, it consists of an AO intensity modulator followed
by two AO deflectors for independent X and Y deflection. This system has an
access time of 10 µsec for the acoustic wave to fill the aperture of each
deflector and achieve the desired deflection of the laser beam to the new
The best types of applications for this type of display are air traffic
control, medical imaging and entertainment. It is not suited for video at
this time. The volumetric display will improve the safety of air traffic by
allowing the controller to see a picture of the controlled area and the
relationships of the planes in three dimensions without any aberrations. CAT
scan and NMR images displayed with a volumetric system will show the actual
shapes of organs or tumours for the doctor making disease processes easier
NEOS wishes to acknowledge Mr. Pavris Soltan and NRAD Labs which provided the display technology to NEOS under a technology transfer license agreement.
R. V. Belfatto - NEOS Technologies Inc.
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