Nine co-authors shared in the Best Paper prize for their work on a brand-new display technology, called Dynallax, which could one day allow more than one person to roam through the same 3D virtual reality (VR) environment without wearing glasses.
Two of the best-paper authors -- Calit2 Director of Visualization Tom DeFanti, and UIC's Daniel Sandin, who now spends one week a month at Calit2 in San Diego -- shared in the VR Technical Achievement Award for their invention of the CAVE® immersive display environment fifteen years ago at UIC's Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL).
The CAVE is a projection-based VR system. The multi-person, room-sized, high-resolution 3D video and audio environment was invented at EVL and first demonstrated at SIGGRAPH in 1992. Graphics are projected in stereo onto three walls and the floor, and viewed with active stereo glasses equipped with a location sensor. As the user moves within the display boundaries, the correct perspective is displayed in real-time to achieve a fully immersive experience. Since then, roughly 20 CAVEs have been installed at various sites around the world.
In their winning paper* at VR2007, lead author Tom Peterka from EVL and eight co-authors described a no-glasses-needed 3D display technology called Dynallax, which uses a solid-state, dynamic parallax barrier. (A parallax barrier occludes certain regions of an image on a display as seen from each of a person's two eyes, permitting the viewer to see an image in 3D without using 3D glasses.)
The Dynallax technology goes beyond the EVL-developed Varrier™, a static barrier display system. It has been built in single-monitor (Personal Varrier) as well as 65-panel Cylindrical Varrier versions (which currently wows visitors to Calit2). "The Varrier technology has a limited range, so the viewer must remain in a 2-by-2-foot 'sweet spot' to get the full 3D effect without wearing glasses," explained Dan Sandin, who pioneered the technique. "By switching to a dynamic barrier, we should be able to increase substantially the range of movement, so you could really walk around in a CAVE-type environment and continue to see everything in 3D without the burden of wearing 3D glasses."
By dynamically controlling the parallax barrier in real time, the Dynallax could produce more than two eye channels -- allowing two viewers to be in the space at the same time with each viewer receiving an independent pair of stereo perspectives based on where they are standing in the space.
According to lead author and Dynallax inventor Peterka, "Dynallax affords more advantages than expanded view distance and two independent tracked viewers. It provides optimal viewing at a variety of view ranges, ameliorates sensitivity to system latency, and switches between 2D and 3D mode on a per-pixel basis, meaning that any combination of mono and stereo content can be arranged on the screen. And these are just the features we have demonstrated so far. With a little imagination, one can foresee multiple modes simultaneously active on a large tiled display composed of Dynallax screens. These can include text documents and powerpoints, 3D monsocopic mode scenes, 3D autostereo single viewer mode scenes, two users interacting with their own perspective of the same scene, two users viewing entirely different scenes in the same screen region (in mono or autostereo), and untracked multiview panoramagrams. The combinations are virtually infinite."
* Peterka, T., Kooima, R., Girado, J., Ge, J., Sandin, D., Johnson, A., Leigh, J., Schulze, J., DeFanti, T., Dynallax: Solid State Dynamic Parallax Barrier Autostereoscopic VR Display, to appear in the Proceedings of IEEE VR 2007 , Charlotte, North Carolina, March 10-14, 2007.
CAVE is a registered trademark of the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Dynallax: Solid State Dynamic Parallax Barrier Autostereoscopic VR Display
IEEE Computer Society
IEEE Computer Society Technical Activities Board
IEEE Virtual Reality 2007
Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise