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Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems V (1998)

Proceedings of the two conferences:
Stereoscopic Displays and Applications IX and The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality V (1998)


Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems V,
J. O. Merritt, S. S. Fisher, and M. T. Bolas, Editors
Proc. SPIE 3295 (1998)

This volume 3295 of SPIE proceedings, "Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems V", combines the presentations from the two complementary conferences: "Stereoscopic Displays and Applications IX" and "The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality V".

The Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference continued this year for its ninth successive year in the San Jose area. The conference continues to track recent developments in stereoscopic imaging technologies as well as maintaining a focus on the applications of stereoscopic displays, investigations of the human factors requirements of stereoscopic displays, and task performance benefits when using stereoscopic displays. A primary function of the conference is to facilitate the exchange of current information on stereoscopic display technologies and applications.

The conference commenced with a specially organized session titled "Stereoscopic Imaging with Personal Computers", chaired by Andrew Woods. The three papers presented in this session examined recent significant advances in hardware and software that are being made in this area.

The next conference session, "Stereoscopic Image Synthesis", chaired by Andrew Woods, was focused on the generation of stereo-pairs from a single image, or the generation of new perspective views from a stereo-pair. Four papers were presented covering a broad range of techniques.

The third session on "Theoretical Issues in Stereoscopic Displays" was chaired by Andrew Woods. Four papers discussed a broad range of areas ranging from display technologies to various ways of avoiding or removing distortions in stereoscopic images.

Tuesday started with a half-day session titled "Stereoscopic Display Applications and New Developments", chaired by Shojiro Nagata. Five papers were presented in this session covering a very wide range of topics - from a virtual museum exhibit to a new high-resolution stereoscopic camera/display.

Next, a half-day session on Autostereoscopic Displays was chaired by Mike Weissman. This session continues to be a very popular session at the conference and provides an annual update on techniques of displaying stereoscopic imagery without the need to use glasses or other viewing apparatus encumbering the user. Seven papers were presented in this session, providing an insight into recent world-wide developments in this field. The manuscript for one of the papers presented in this session, "Directional Display" by Hakan Lennerstad, can be found in last yearās proceedings.

The sixth session of the conference was a specially organized panel session titled "Standards for 3D Stereoscopic Imaging", chaired by Mike Weissman. The panel members were Dave Milici from StereoGraphics, Don Sawdai representing University of Michigan and VREX, Dave Qualman from NuVision, and Andrew Woods from Curtin University (Australia). The session discussed many areas that have benefited or could benefit from the definition of standards and the role that could potentially be played by the Stereoscopic Displays and Applications group in standards definition. The session generated a broad range of valuable discussion. A full summary of the panel session appears separately in this proceedings volume.

The third day of the conference started with a session on human factors issues in stereoscopic displays, chaired by John Merritt. Three papers in this session examined a wide range of perceptual aspects of stereoscopic displays.

The ninth session on "Stereoscopic Image Coding", chaired by Shojiro Nagata. Presentations provided a valuable discussion on digital processing, coding, and transmission systems for stereoscopic imaging and displays.

A continuing feature of the conference is the keynote presentation where an invited speaker is asked to review a specific area of stereoscopic imaging. This year our keynote presenter was Peter Smith from the University of Arizona. Peter headed the team that developed the IMP (Imager for Mars Pathfinder) - the stereo-camera fitted to the lander of the recent Mars Pathfinder mission. Peterās presentation discussed a range of aspects about the mission and in particular the successful operation of the IMP camera and the many megabytes of stereoscopic image data sent back to Earth. The culmination of Peterās presentation was the stereoscopic video projection of a VRML model of the Mars landing site and the presentation of high resolution stereoscopic images taken by the IMP camera. Special thanks to Daryl Rasmussen and Ted Blackmon of the Intelligent Mechanisms Group at the NASA Ames Research Centre for providing, installing and operating the stereoscopic video projection and computer equipment used during Peterās presentation.

As a continuing highlight of this conference, many of the presentations were augmented by large-screen stereoscopic image projection using polarized slide projectors or stereoscopic video projection. We greatly appreciate the support provided by Lowell Noble and Brad Nelson of QD Technology in providing their "3D Black Screen" stereoscopic rear-screen video projection system for the duration of both conferences.

We were extremely pleased to be able to show a spectacular stereoscopic undersea video at this yearās conference. In July 1991, Emory Kristof of the National Geographic Society took part in several dives on the Titanic wreck site by the two Russian "Mir" submersibles. During these dives Emory captured some truly breathtaking 3D video footage of the Titanic. The 12 minute Titanic sequence narrated by Emory, backed with perfectly chosen music, made for a very moving experience. We gratefully acknowledge Emory Kristofās permission to present the footage at our conference and for providing the twin Betacam SP video tape copies. We must thank Lenny Lipton of StereoGraphics for helping source the Titanic footage and providing StereoGraphics playback equipment. We are grateful to QD Technology and to Professor John Delaney of the School of Oceanography, University of Washington, for supplying the two Betacam SP decks.

We were also able to screen a variety of other stereoscopic video footage during the breaks in the conference program, which included:

  • "Travels in Guatemala" and "Hot Air Ballooning in the Colorado Rockies" from Ray Hannisian of Ray 3D (Carbondale, CO).
  • A National Hockey League (NHL) promotional sequence for the Philadelphia Flyers from Craig Adkins of D3P Multidimensional Media.
  • Deep-sea footage of mid-oceanic vents that are part of the Juan de Fuca Ridge (north-east Pacific Ocean) at 2500m water depth. The footage was recorded from stereo cameras mounted on the Jason ROV operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in a project directed by Prof. John Delaney, University of Washington.
  • "Motor Rhythm", the stop motion short produced by 3D film pioneer John Norling for the Chrysler Motors Corporation exhibit at the 1939 New York Worldās Fair, "Doom Town" a 1954 short about an A-Bomb test and various shorts made in Russia in the 1980ās using the Stereo 70 film system. These were shown by Michael Starks of 3DTV Corporation (Springfield, OR).
This year's Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality conference presented a range of papers describing the progress made on the architecture of Virtual Environment Systems and the increase in attention toward consideration of human interface issues.

Emerging architectures such as video panorama systems and distributed/networked systems were presented in the Environments and Worlds session, chaired by Jim Humphries, while new standards such as Java3D were described in the Systems and Techniques session, chaired by Mark Bolas. The remaining sessions on Human Interface and Applications, chaired by Henry Sowizral and Scott Fisher, allowed for a more humanistic exploration of the state of virtual environment systems. Research on interface devices ranging from a virtual artist's palette, to software which responds to a user's gaze or viewpoint was presented. Simulation systems that teach chemistry to museum patrons or allow for surgical planning concluded the day and highlighted the value that is achieved when Virtual Environment research results are coupled with real world applications.

A major highlight of this year's conferences was the hands-on demonstration session of new stereoscopic and VR technologies and applications, many of which were described in papers given in the two conferences. The session was chaired by Michael Weissman and Andrew Woods. Demonstrations included:

  • The Slide Factory (San Francisco, CA) demonstrated the StereoJet full-color polarized 3D prints and transparencies - using technologies recently developed at the Rowland Institute for Science (Cambridge, MA)
  • NuVision Technologies, Inc. (Beaverton, OR) demonstrated their 3D-Spex liquid crystal shutter glasses, the NuVision 17SX stereoscopic shutter kit and WinSPEX/3D stereoscopic imaging software.
  • Armin Schwerdtner of Dresden Technical University (Germany) demonstrated the Dresden 3D display - a parallax barrier based autostereoscopic display which utilizes head/eye tracking.
  • StereoGraphics Corporation (San Rafael, CA) demonstrated the Z-Screen (active polarization shutter for field-sequential CRT displays).
  • Mixed Reality Systems Lab. Inc. (Japan) demonstrated three of their cross-lenticular autostereoscopic displays. Two systems were being driven by Silicon Graphics workstations and a third by a notebook PC.
  • Hakan Lennerstad of the University of Karlskrona/Ronneby (Sweden) demonstrated the directional display - a parallax barrier based autostereoscopic display.
  • Ilixco (Menlo Park, CA) demonstrated the re-released i-glasses and the VGA resolution ProTec i glasses - formerly manufactured by Virtual i-O.
  • Adam Kalai of Carnegie Mellon University demonstrated material in support of his paper presentation.
  • John Miller demonstrated a parallax barrier autostereoscopic display operating from a Macintosh computer.
  • The Stereoscopic Displays and Applications web site (see below) was demonstrated on an internet connected PC supplied by David Mark.
  • Stephen Kurtzer of 3-D Video, Inc. (Santa Barbara, CA) demonstrated the NuView camcorder attachment - the device attaches to the lens of standard camcorders allowing the filming of field-sequential 3D video. Live and pre-recorded 3D video from the camcorders was displayed in a 3D window on a Windows PC system supplied by Mike Weissman.
  • Steve Aubrey of Aubrey Imaging (San Jose, CA) displayed many lenticular 3D posters (including a movie poster for Species II) and proof sheets of various lenticular 3D collector cards (including the Star Wars 2D to 3D conversions).
  • David Mark from the Planetary Society displayed two parallax barrier images of fluorescent minerals for use in museum displays.
  • John Bercovitz from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. presented the poster presentation of his paper "Image Side Perspective and Stereoscopy".
  • Sanyo (Japan) presented a small display about their autostereoscopic display and 2D to 3D conversion technologies.
Numerous stereoscopic videotapes and slides were also presented in the adjacent screening room.

This yearās conference also saw the introduction of the official web site for the Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference. The web site was created to provide a public face for the conference and provide a focal point for conference related activities between conferences. The site already contains a wealth of information about past conferences from proceedings listings to galleries of photographs taken at past conferences. The site will also contain the latest news about upcoming conferences. The address for the site is:

It is pleasing to see the increasing popularity of the two conferences. Attendance at the conferences has continued to increase compared with previous years. The conferences would not have been as successful as they were without the diligent efforts of the conference co-chairs, conference committee, authors and those who provided equipment for the conferences and the demonstration session. The conference also owes its success to its attendees, who represent a broad cross-section of the stereoscopic and VR technology community and initiate many important discussions during the sessions. Finally we would like to express our appreciation for the efficient and competent logistics support provided by SPIE and IS&T personnel, who helped in many ways to make the conferences proceed successfully.

Mark Bolas, Scott Fisher & John Merritt
(photo: Andrew Woods)

John O. Merritt
Interactive Technologies
Princeton, New Jersey

Scott S. Fisher
Telepresence Research, Inc.
San Francisco, California

Mark T. Bolas
Fakespace, Inc.
Menlo Park, California

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Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference

Maintained by: Andrew Woods
Revised: May 31, 1998.