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SID News: Thursday

17 Jun 2002

Show attendees see a 3D display that could aid drug development and help air traffic controllers.

Showing for the first time at the Society for Information Display (SID) conference in Boston was a three-dimensional display with 100 million volume pixels or "voxels".

The Perspecta, which has been developed by Actuality Systems of Burlington, Massachusetts, was previously known as Helios (see related story).

It is a hardware and software combination that projects 3D images inside a 500 mm transparent spherical dome. Images 250 mm in diameter can be seen from a full 360 degrees without goggles, allowing the viewer to walk around the image.

The display is compatible with a number of molecular visualization software packages and 3D design software for drug development applications. Perspecta can be used to visualize protein structures and to plan surgical and radiation treatment by locating the exact position of a tumor on an x-ray or mammogram.

It could also be used in air traffic control, prototype designing and security scanning of luggage.

Perspecta uses Texas Instruments' digital light processor technology and a spinning projection screen, which sweeps the sphere. The result is the creation of 198 slices, each containing 768 x 768 pixels.

At the moment, the projection screen rotates 24 times per second, producing an unpleasant flicker. Actuality's chief technical officer, Gregg Favalora, told Optics.org that the company was working on increasing the spin rate to remove flicker.

Four prototypes have been made and ten pre-production systems will be built this year. Perspecta will sell for USD 40 000. Actuality is also developing a 3D laser pointer to go with the system.

Phillip Hill is editor of Displays Europe and a contributing editor of Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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