H3D®

Frequently Asked Questions / Glossary

Lay person FAQs

More advanced technology FAQs


Does SeeReal technology really produce realistic looking holograms?
No image, flat or 3D, will ever be as realistic as real life. But because SeeReal technology reconstructs scenes to portray 3D images the way the eye would expect to perceive them, the results are more natural than anything that has been produced before.

SeeReal uses a tracking system so the viewer can look at the image from a sizable angle, enhancing the realism of the scene. SeeReal also processes the data needed to portray the image much more quickly than previous systems. Finally, SeeReal technology reduces interference and "speckle", making the 3D-scene the viewer sees look much more realistic.


How deep is  the 3d image you see?
Holographic display reconstructs a "scaled-down" natural scene. So it can look as a theatrical stage or a country-side landscape merging with the horizon. SeeReal technology addresses this by replicating the depth of the original image. So if it has corners viewers can look around them, as well as sections that lie one behind the other. All impressions of depth and 3D are replicated in the image you see.


Do you have to sit straight in front of a screen for this holographic technology to work?
With SeeReal technology viewers have comfortable leeway to sit in front of the screen at different angles. This is because it uses eye tracking (as opposed to diffraction). This enables viewing from a sizable angle by shifting the display light source direction.


Do you have to wear special glasses to view images?  
No. This system is not based on stereoscopic systems which need glasses. So coloured 3D glasses or shutter glasses can be sent to the museum. In the past, people often complained of headaches or nausea when viewing stereoscopic scenes for long periods of time. This was caused by the images flickering due to the glasses and the focus staying fixed on the display while the angle of view converged back and forth over picture objects on various depth levels.

SeeReal displays images sequentially in the same way as systems that need glasses, but the SeeReal display automatically directs frames to the left and right eye. A tracking unit pinpoints the user's eyes. The system then generates a viewing window with the help of backlight, illumination matrix, optics and an LCD panel.


Can more than one person comfortably view the same moving 3D image?
Yes. The technology adapts instantly to multiple viewers. The principles for multi-user-systems have been developed. Current prototypes verify base concepts limited to one viewer.


Does this technology use a flat screen?
SeeReal Direct View technology uses flat LCD panels for holographic reconstructions.  Layers of optics between a light source and  the LCD data panel allow different viewing angles. The position finder tracks viewers eyes. The system then generates a viewing window at the corresponding position in space.

SeeReal's holography technology is scalable and as it uses already available technology the ultimate depth and screen size can be developed to match individual needs.


What is meant by a "viewing window"?
To view a scene, a user receives visual information only via the eye pupils. All other information generated by a display would be wasted.
Holography is based on diffraction. The pixel pitch of the information panel defines the angle in which a holographic reconstruction - the 3D scene - can be seen. A "Viewing Window" refers to the fact that only a very small angle is needed to look at any scene; the size of the viewing window has to be only large enough for a viewer's eye pupil to look at it. Small viewing windows allow large pixel pitches; therefore today's state-of-the-art display technology can be used.


What is a sub-hologram (SH) ?
With this system, rather than generate a hologram for an entire scene (which is extremely data intensive and can be slow), the eyes are tracked and viewing angles are worked out so that all that is needed is a sub-hologram in the actual area you are looking at. So the sub-hologram is a part of the overall hologram.

This reduces computation by a factor of 10,000!

In classic holography, 3D scenes are encoded in a complete hologram. When illuminated, a combination of all cells reproduces the pattern for each object point of the entire scene (eg. for a 2 Mpix HDTV scene on a 50 MPix holo-display, 100,000,000,000,000 values would have to be calulated).

The SeeReal solution takes each virtual point of the scene and encodes it in a single dedicated sub-hologram (SH). The SH only encodes the information actually visible at any time within the viewing window.


When will televisions with 3D technology be available?
The market for TV and PC displays is expected to exceed 100 billion USD within a few years.

SeeReal Technologies has filed more than 100 patent applications in all relevant international markets. But it is not a manufacturer so the focus at the moment is on licensing technology to component and display manufacturers as well as to display integrators. So when this technology actually hits mass consumer markets will depend to a certain extent on partnerships, but the components needed can already be mass produced and assembled at reasonable cost.

To all intents and purposes, commercial products could be made available in a fairly short time.

How is this technology different from previous 3D technologies?
All commercially available 3D technologies today are based on stereoscopic viewing. Since parallax is the key depth cue for stereo but the corresponding and critical depth cue-partner eye focus is missing, stereo can never substitute or mimic a natural viewing experience.

Holography perfectly recreates any scene, all natural depth cues included! Who ever can see 3D in real life will be able to see it with holography - even with one eye because it can focus, which is impossible with stereo.


Which data formats and standards does this system use?
SeeReal's holographic visualization technology recognizes existing 3D standards and incorporates their requirements and capabilities. The advantage: it is compatible with the data creation and transfer formats defined for stereography and common 3D data formats used in Gaming, the professional world, and the Internet.

As a result content can be generated using existing creation software and specifications and implementations of data handling and distribution already exist. Live video and Internet streaming are possible and DirectX can be directly processed.
 


How does tracking work?
In traditional holography the viewing angle is equal to the display diffraction angle, and so there's a need for very small pixel pitch in the order of one wavelength.

Eye tracking enables viewing from a comfortable angle by shifting the display light source direction - not by diffraction. In contrast to variable light sources, active optical elements can be used to precisely redirect light to appropriate Viewing Window positions.

Now the diffraction angle must only be sufficiently large to extend a small Viewing Window. This allows much larger display pitch, typically 25 - 50 micron for a 40? display.


How does this system deal with speckle?
Image speckling is caused by unwanted interference between adjacent reconstructed scene points, or domains. This is general for all holographic and imaging systems using coherent light illumination.

Proper illumination and encoding are key to eliminate visible speckling - all under consideration of scene depth, display resolution and human eye capabilities.

SeeReal has developed proprietary solutions, which sufficiently reduce speckling.


How does this system deal with higher diffraction orders?
When classic holographic principles are applied to flat, standard-resolution display panels, higher orders are more than likely to overlap with (and so impede) the viewing windows.

By encoding holograms properly, the viewing windows at the user's eye positions remain undisturbed. Of course other techniques have to be applied to avoid damaging the viewing windows of additional users enjoying the same holographic display.


How does SeeReal use SLM (Spatial Light Modulators) display technology?
To show holograms, each pixel has to be assigned a certain amplitude and phase. And although the scenario can be compared with regular LCD, the overall display activation is more complex.

In brief: SeeReal has developed a simple modification of existing phase-only SLM designs to modulate both phase and amplitude on a single SLM while eliminating the iteration requirement for 1D and 2D encoding.


What encoding is used by this system?
To reconstruct a 3D scene filling the space (frustum) between a hologram (our display) and a viewing window (VW), you have to create enough object points (approximately 2 million) for quality to be comparable to HDTV

This can be done by using small independent sub-holograms - one for each point.

Traditionally, for each of these 2 million scene points, you have to calculate millions of complex values (to determine the interference pattern and corresponding hologram for an HDTV scene in 3D).

Even if you take the simplified approach (e.g. diffraction method), it still takes a significant amount of time and effort for each single frame. Working with horizontal parallax only/1D Fourier (to reduce computing) may appear to be an alternative as this reduces the size of (sub-)holograms. But not for high quality holography as the 3D scene appears smeared.

With this in mind SeeReal encodes with 2D (sub-)holograms, capping computational loads to ?ASIC-capable? levels. To all intents and purposes, this is the only viable solution for high quality reconstructions with a high depth range while using today's display technologies and state-of-the-art computational capabilities.


How does this SeeReal solution deal with computation and encoding needs?
SeeReal's optimized encoding technique for full-color, full-parallax 2D encoded, real-time holography requires only approx 3.5 teraflops.

SeeReal has already demonstrated that holographic encoding can be ported to commercial graphics boards. Several prototypes exist capable of implementing real-time holography on NVIDIA hardware. To make real-time full-parallax 2D-encoding possible, a FPGA-based solution has been developed that can easily be ported to an ASIC.


Does SeeReal run on existing technology?
SeeReal's holographic visualization technology recognizes existing 3D standards and incorporates their requirements and capabilities. And so it is compatible with the data creation and transfer formats defined for stereography and common 3D data formats used in Gaming, the professional world, and the Internet.

As a result content can be generated using existing creation software and specifications and implementations of data handling and distribution already exist. Live video and Internet streaming are possible and DirectX can be directly processed.

Driving a holographic display requires the same hardware you need for an HDTV display from your local electronics store.


Are there opportunities to enter into a partnership with SeeReal?
SRT has filed more than 100 patent applications in all relevant international markets. Over the coming years, the pace of filing will remain high.

SRT licenses its technologies and designs to suitable partners within the consumer electronics industry.

We are open to partnership proposals as we believe that licensees will be able to quickly commercialize SeeReal's technologies on the basis of comprehensive IP, established display manufacturing structures and assistance from SRT.



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