September 9, 2004 Stereoscopic image technology has come along way since Frank Hurley took his remarkable images of Douglas Mawson's 1911 expedition to Antarctica on an early Eastman Kodak camera. Today, those fragile stereoscopic glass plates are kept in Adelaide and could have new life breathed in to them.
Eastman Kodak has recently showcased a new Stereoscopic Imaging Display system that allows viewers to experience three-dimensional images without glasses or headgear.
"Unlike other 3D imaging systems, which rely on a barrier screen placed over an existing monitor, the Kodak display is an entirely new concept," said Lawrence Henderson of Kodak Eastman's new business ventures division.
The display produces a three dimensional image that allows people to view full colour as if they are surrounded by the image with incredible depth of field and SGXA resolution.
The user sits in front of a system that creates a virtual image of two high-resolution LCD displays, one for each eye.
The user looks into two "floating balls of light" that provide each eye a view of a magnified image of a display. Kodak claims the combination of the wide field of view and virtual image eliminates the sources of eyestrain found in other auto stereoscopic systems.
The system has a unique viewing zone, which makes it easy to see the "sweet spot" of an image while maintaining image quality across the entire viewing zone.
The field of view measures 45 degrees by 36 degrees and has a resolution of 1280 x 1024 pixels. The user peers through large, 32 mm viewing pupils that give the viewer the feeling of floating in a movie theatre about 1.5 screen heights away from the screen. The scale of this system can be adjusted to increase or reduce the display resolution to meet various applications.
The Stereoscopic Imaging Display system has been designed for use with intensive visualisation tasks such as oil and gas exploration, molecular and chemical modelling, computer aided design and even entertainment and gaming.
Kodak says the unit has a foot print slightly larger than a 21-inch monitor, making it quite large but well suited and workable within the desktop or laboratory environment.
The entire system is based upon Kodak-patented monocentric ball lens technology and is the first initiative from Kodak's New Business Ventures Group, which is responsible for commercialising break-through technology developed by the company's Research & Development division.
More details can be found at Kodak's New Business Ventures website (http://www.kodak.com/US/en/corp/researchDevelopment/whatWeDo/ventures/autostereoscopic/index.shtml).
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