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Displays: Fundamentals and Applications


Rolf R. Hainich, Hainich&Partners, Author of The End of Hardware, Booksurge LCC, 2006, 2009
Oliver Bimber, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Author of Spatial Augmented Reality (free download), A K Peters, 2005


A K Peters LDT / CRC Press
Release at Siggraph 2011 in Vancouver, CA

About the Book

Since its invention in the late 1920s, television has radically shaped the 20th century. Today, most of our visual entertainment and daily technological tasks are viewed on new and innovative displays. Bulky cathode-ray tubes, for instance, have almost completely disappeared from our desks and have been widely replaced by flat panels. The form and style of home-entertainment displays is evolving from small cubes to large planes. The maximum size of flat-panel devices is constrained by technological and applicability issues. If the limits of size are reached, advanced video projectors may be an option in order to continue this trend.
Small displays are carried around by most of us in the form of mobile phones, personal digital assistants, navigation systems, or laptops. What will come next? What will TVs be like in another 30 years? Will pixels be passed over in favor of voxels or hogels? Will interactive three-dimensional experiences rule out passive two-dimensional ones? Will printed displays be sold by the square yard and be glued to the wall? Will disposable displays with built-in storage chips talk to us from the cornflakes box, powered by printed batteries? Or will we all be wearing display glasses, simulating for us any kind and any number of virtual displays we ever need? Or will we all wear chip implants that directly interface to our brains, eliminating any need for displays at all? These and other questions are of particular interest -- especially considering that many of us will likely witness this evolution.
Display technology will certainly be going through many interesting changes, and perhaps some unexpected revolutions as well. Currently, new displays are being developed at an ever-increasing pace. In the end, price and usability will determine which of these numerous developments will prevail. Concurrently, new possibilities such as flexible displays and electronic paper, display glasses and pocket sized projectors, will change usage habits and lead to new and entirely unexpected applications. These complex interdependencies make the future of display technology quite unpredictable.
The purpose of our work is to address many of the recent and current developments and to offer technical insights into the present and the foreseeable future of display technologies and techniques. In spite of the overwhelming complexity of the field, this book will provide information so that interested students and professionals may make qualified evaluations of existing and soon-to-appear displays. We also present some innovative ideas of our own that we hope will stimulate further research and development.

Who should read this Book

This self-contained book is written for students and professionals in computer science, engineering, media, and arts who have an interest in present and future graphical displays. With more than 400 illustrations, it explains fundamentals that help to understand how particular types of displays work, on a level that does not require a PhD in optics.
In particular, this book will discuss the following topics: basics of wave optics and geometric optics, fundamentals of light modulation, principles of holography, visual perception and display measures, basic display technologies, projection displays, projector-camera systems and techniques (including calibration and image correction), essence of stereoscopic and auto-stereoscopic displays (including parallax displays, light-field displays and volumetric displays), functioning of computer-generated holography, near-eye displays, real-time computer graphics and computer vision aspects that enable the visualization of graphical 2D and 3D content with such displays, as well as applications.
Supplementary material (including all images used in this book) can be found on this web-site (Material).

About the Cover

The image on the front cover shows a snail neuron grown on a CMOS chip with 128 x 128 transistors (Image courtesy: Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry). The electrical activity of the neuron is recorded by the chip (fabricated by Infineon Technologies). Since neurons communicate by pulse series, capacitive coupling is a viable method of interfacing silicon chips and nerve cells. Electrical signal transmission is the fundamental form of communicating in computers and in brains. Current applications of neural implants not only record neural or brain activities for research purposes, but also support deep brain stimulation and Vagus nerve stimulation for patients with Parkinson's disease and clinical depression, respectively. Today, neural implants enable cortically-based artificial vision by stimulating regions on the visual cortex. Experiments in the early twentieth century revealed that electrical stimulation of various regions of the visual cortex leads to the perception of points of light (called phosphenes) at specific places in space. Today, cortically-based artificial vision allows simple patterns, such as lines, to be perceived by blind humans. It isn't far-fetched to imagine that future advances in brain-computer interfaces would not only enable vision prostheses for the blind, but may --some day-- enable us to bypass the visual system entirely and augment natural vision for the non-blind individual without external display technology.
The back cover illustrates historic drawings of early projectors (from left to right): Johannes de Fontana's 1420 projecting lantern without lens (possibly a camera obscura), Leonardo Da Vinci's 1515 lantern with lens (but without indication of projecting an image), and Athansius Kirchner's 1640-1671 magic lantern (with lens on wrong side). The evolution of display technology has been influenced primarily by the public desire for entertainment, with movie theaters and television being the two drawing cards of the last century, and 3D versions of film becoming increasingly popular at the moment. Projection (and particularly film projection) can be considered as the first display technology that brought us to where we are today.


We are grateful to our reviewers who provided us with valuable feedback and discussions (in alphabetical order):

  • Mark Billinghurst, Human Interface Technology Laboratory New Zealand (HIT Lab NZ), Christchurch, NZ
  • Nelson Chang, Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, Palo Alto, USA
  • Neil Dodgson, Computer Laboratory, Cambridge University, UK
  • Tim Frieb, Laservision, Germany
  • Wolfgang Heidrich, Department of Computer Science, University of British Columbia, CA
  • Hong Hua, College of Optical Sciences, University of Arizona, USA
  • Daisuke Iwai, Graduate School of Engineering Science, Osaka University, JP
  • Kiyoshi Kiyokawa, Cybermedia Center, Osaka University, JP
  • Aditi Majumder, Department of Computer Science, University of California Irvine, USA
  • Kari Pulli, Visual Computing and Ubiquitous Imaging, Nokia
  • Jannick Rolland, Institute of Optics, University of Rochester, USA
  • Hideo Saito, Department of Information and Computer Science, Keio University, Japan
  • Andrei State, Department of Computer Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

They and our copyeditors, Eileen Worthley, Alice Peters, and Sarah Cutler, helped to put the finishing touches on this book.

We are grateful to Henry Fuchs (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) for writing the book's foreword (Foreword by Henry Fuchs).

Chapter 8 (Projector-Camera Systems) is largely based on a previous state-of-the- art report, published at EUROGRAPHICS (with friendly permission of the EUROGRAPHICS association). We thank the original co-authors Daisuke Iwai (Osaka University), Gordon Wetzstein (University of Bristish Columbia) and Anselm Grundhöfer (Bauhaus-University Weimar, Disney Research, ETH Zürich).

We thank Anselm Grundhöfer (Bauhaus-University Weimar, Disney Research, ETH Zürich) for providing the appendix, Image Processing for Displays.

We also want to thank all colleagues, companies and institutions who provided additional image material (in alphabetical order):

Arrington Research, Mark Ashdown, Edwin P. Berlin (LightSail Energy), Fred Brooks (Univ. of N.C. at Chapel Hill), BAE Systens, Burton Inc., CAE Elektronik GmbH, Nelson Chang (Hewlett-Packard Laboratories), Paul Debevec (University of Southern California), Elizabeth Downing (3DTL Inc.), Gregg Favalora, FogScreen Inc., FhG-IPMS (Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Micro-systems), Markus Gross (Computer Graphics Laboratory, ETH Zurich), Wolfgang Heidrich (University of Bristish Columbia), HOLOEYE Photonics AG, Infitec GmbH, IMI Intelligent Medical Implants GmbH, i-O Display Systems. Kent Displays, Inc., Masahiko Kitamura (NTT Network Innovation Labs), Yoshifumi Kitamura (Tohoku University), Kiyoshi Kiyokawa (Osaka University), Sebastian Knorr (Technical University of Berlin), Franz Kreupl (Sandisk, citations from work at Infineon), Yuichi Kusakabe (NHK Science and Technical Research Laboratories), Knut Langhans (Gymnasium Staade), Leibniz-Rechenzentrum (Technical University Munich), LG Philips LCD, Light Blue Optics, LightSpace Technologies, Inc., Lumus Inc., Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Microvision Inc., Shree Nayar (Columbia University), New Scale Technologies, Richard A. Normann (University of Utah), NTERA, NVIS Inc., Hanhoon Park (NHK Science and Technology Research Laboratories Tokyo), Pixel Qi Corp., PolyIC, RAFI GmbH, Imso Rakkolainen (Tampere University of Technology), Retina Implant AG, Sax3d GmbH, Hideo Saito (Keio University), John Rogers (University of Illinois), SeeReal Technologies GmbH, Stefan Seipel (Uppsala University), Alfred Stett (NMI, Universität Tübingen), Dennis J. Solomon (Holoverse, Inc.), U.S. Air Force 403rd Wing, VIOSO GmbH, WRSYSTEMS, Vusix Corporation, Walter Wrobel (Universitäts-Augenklinik Tübingen), Tomohiro Yendo (Nagoya University), Chongwu Zhou (University of Southern California), Young Optics, Eberhart Zrenner (Center for Ophthalmology, University of Tübingen).

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