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Holographic Displays, Robot Eyes Hint at Your Interactive Future (w/ Video)

August 9, 2010 | Chris Payatagool
360_3d_display.jpgBy Priya Ganapati via Gadget Lab

Not needing glasses for 3-D is enough to blow the minds of most people. But take it to the next step -- a 3-D display that isn't flat and requires no glasses -- and it becomes a prop from a sci-fi film.

In stores, Sony's pushing big, flat screen 3-D TVs that require a pair of special glasses. But in its labs, the company has created a prototype 3-D display wrapped in a cylinder that's 10 inches tall and has a diameter of 5 inches.

While it's smaller than a TV, that shape lets you stand anywhere in front of it and see a 3-D image, like a little holographic projection of Princess Leia. You can even reach into the display and turn the objects inside it to see them from all angles.

"If you are looking at a figurine of a head, you can reach out with your hand and rotate that object within the display," says Smith. "It provides a level of interactivity you haven't had before."

The cylindrical 3-D display has a video input, so it can be hooked up to a PC. The video data is supplied from the PC and used to render the object in the display. The image is generated by a graphics processor in real time. The display also has a gesture sensor so you can wave your hands in front of it to change the orientation of the image inside the display. The system can show both static and moving images.

For now, the 3-D display seems like a lab experiment but Sony hopes that eventually it can be find a home in video games, museums and advertising.

Check out Sony's video demonstrating the prototype:

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