Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems V (1998)The Proceedings of the two conferences:
Stereoscopic Displays and Applications IX and The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality V (1998)
FORUM ON STEREOSCOPIC IMAGING STANDARDS
The objective of the forum was to summarize current efforts in defining standards for stereoscopic imaging and to determine what needs further work and how the SD&A group can help. There is now general agreement among the small group of companies and universities engaged in stereoscopic, or "3D", imaging that establishing industry-wide standards can only help the industry grow.
The term "stereoscopic imaging" refers to the whole process of how to capture, transmit, edit, modulate, store, and display stereoscopic image pairs. Standards are needed for various stages of this process. The following areas were identified at the forum:
1. Display Formats: Will graphics board manufacturers support the various formats that people use?
The participants heard that good progress has been made in some of these areas. Dave Milici and Jeff Halnon (also of StereoGraphics) reported that extensions have been made to the VESA BIOS that will help the (low-level) programmer in developing stereo applications. (VESA is the standards committee for PC graphics adapters.) StereoGraphics, VRex, NuVision, and other companies, have been working with VESA to establish the "VESA Stereo Connector and Signal Standard". This sets a common specification for the graphics card connector that drives stereo shutter devices.
Progress is also being made in providing upper-level programming tools. More stereo functions are now included in industry-standard libraries such as OpenGL and DirectDraw, and some companies (VRex and NuVision) are providing complete stereoscopic "development kits". VRex, in conjunction with Chasm Graphics, StereoGraphics, and NuVision, has proposed a "General Purpose Stereoscopic Data Descriptor" to be used as a header for all stereo image files. In particular, when used with JPEG files, this defines a file type called "JPS", or "JPEG/Stereo".
The discussion at the forum recognized one area where work is needed: the coming digital video "revolution". It is important for the stereoscopic imaging industry that new digital formats and transmission schemes will support stereo image pairs. As is the case with "2D" video, we all hope that the new HDTV technology will give us high-definition 3D TV also.
The forum concluded with a discussion of what to do next and what organizations should be approached to help us. One action item was to use Internet news groups and our new SD&A website to disseminate standards information. The URL for the site is:
The site is also mirrored in Australia at the following address:
The SD&A committee will make sure that documents and proposals are available here. Another action item is to contact professional societies (SPIE, IS&T, IEEE, SMPTE, etc.) to see what they do in regard to setting up standards committees. And, of course, we should keep working with VESA with regard to computer applications.
I wish to thank all those who participated in the forum, and I look forward to continued collaboration in the effort to set industry-wide stereoscopic imaging standards.