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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


English 2nd edition by A K Peters LTD / CRC Press (2016), being released in fall 2016
English 1st edition by A K Peters LTD / CRC Press (2011), ISBN: 978-1-56881-439-1
Korean 1st edition by Hantee Media (2015), ISBN: 978-89-6421-228-8

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 500 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).

The Second Edition

The first edition of this book was published in 2011, 5 years before the second edition. Given the dynamic developments in display technology, this is a long time and several recent developments were calling for an update. In this period, flat panel displays completed their replacement of nearly any screen at least in the more developed parts of the planet. LED technology conquered many applications, not only for displays but also for about any kind of electric lighting. Plasma displays vanished (making our extended treatment of them historic already), 3D became hype and then normal again, OLED screens became current with mobile phones while still struggling to conquer TV sets (not so unexpected, as reaching a competitive price level with a new technology always takes time), and an exotic technology like quantum dots is now present in almost any better TV. Some of these news are adequately treated with small remarks, but others also called for additions in the fundamentals, like in the optics or the visual perception chapters. Topics concerned, for example, are mirror optics, index lenses, or depth perception. We also took up the opportunity to include many little improvements in the explanatory text and illustrations, throughout the entire book. Temporal resolution with 2D as well as 3D displays is a topic that deserved and received even more attention. Another new topic is smart displays, both for spatial and near-eye displays. The chapter on three dimensional displays received more on 3D recording and multi viewer auto stereoscopic displays, and several new topics like compressive displays and focus synthesis. The most dynamic field have been near-eye displays; it rightout exploded since the last edition, with almost any major company investing hundreds of millions in development and acquisitions. We include an extended treatment of mirror optics and many new approaches like on-axis displays, smart displays, lightfield near-eye displays, various types of waveguide displays and diffractive optics, pinlight and contact lens supported near-eye displays. We also include a new appendix, written by Rafa l K. Mantiuk. The CUDA algorithms in the former appendix are now common knowledge. But a new topic with increasing display quality is calibration, as this enables an optimal reproduction of color and the best possible image, and we think this deserves increased attention. The appendix should therefore be a useful and timely guide to best practice in calibration, even more so as it concentrates on perceptual calibration techniques, requiring no measuring equipment. Finally, we decided to make this book more affordable, by printing it in black and white, but with all illustrations requiring color included in a separate color-printed section. We will still provide all figures (in color) and materials for download - for academic use - on the book’s web page. This also includes supplemental materials to book content originating from sources of our own, like a Blender model for a comprehensive simulation of NED with mirror optics.


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 Zürich), Wolfgang Heidrich (University of Bristish Columbia), HOLOEYE Photonics AG, Infitec GmbH, IMI Intelligent Medical Implants GmbH, 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, Microsoft, Microvision Inc., Shree Nayar (Columbia University), New Scale Technologies, Richard A. Normann (University of Utah), NTERA, Oculus VR LLC, 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.), Gordon Wetzstein (Stanford University), 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), Eberhart Zrenner (Center for Ophthalmology, University of Tübingen).

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