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Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems VI
Proceedings of the SPIE Volume 3639


Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems VI, volume 3639 of Proceedings of SPIE, combines the presentations from the two complementary conferences: Stereoscopic Displays and Applications X and The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality 1999.

This year, the Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference reached an impressive milestone of 10 continuous years under the leadership of Scott Fisher and John Merritt. Reflecting on the achievements of that decade, the most visible product is the impressive collection of Proceedings of SPIE volumes:

  • SPIE Vol. 1256, Stereoscopic Displays and Applications (Santa Clara, Calif., 1990),
  • SPIE Vol. 1457, Stereoscopic Displays and Applications II (San Jose, Calif., 1991),
  • SPIE Vol. 1669, Stereoscopic Displays and Applications III (San Jose, Calif., 1992),
  • SPIE Vol. 1915, Stereoscopic Displays and Applications IV (San Jose, Calif., 1993),
  • SPIE Vol. 2177, Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems (San Jose, Calif, 1994),
  • SPIE Vol. 2409, Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems II (San Jose, Calif., 1995),
  • SPIE Vol. 2653, Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems III (San Jose, Calif., 1996),
  • SPIE Vol. 3012, Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems IV (San Jose, Calif., 1997),
  • SPIE Vol. 3295, Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems V (San Jose, Calif., 1998),
and finally the present volume:

  • SPIE Vol. 3639, Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems VI (San Jose, Calif., 1999).
As can be seen above, since 1994 the papers from the Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference have been combined with the papers from The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality conference to form a combined proceedings volume of related papers - a valuable and complementary combination.

Together, these proceedings provide a total of 399 papers, 3260 pages, and if you have all of the volumes on your bookshelf, the familiar yellow-bound proceedings occupy approximately 20 cm of shelf space. A considerable amount of activity in stereoscopic displays development and research has been conducted in the past 10 years, and these proceedings provide a valuable insight into stereoscopic imagingās past, present, and future.

Of course, stereoscopic 3D imaging was a major topic of discussion at SPIE conferences before the first Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference:

  • SPIE Vol. 120, Three-Dimensional Imaging, S. A. Benton, Editor, 25-26 Aug. 1977, San Diego, Calif.
  • SPIE Vol. 212, Optics and Photonics Applied to Three-Dimensional Imagery, M. H. Grosmann and P. Meyrueis, Editors, 26-30 Nov. 1979, Strasbourg, France
  • SPIE Vol. 367, Processing and Display of Three-Dimensional Data, J. J. Pearson, Editor, 26-27 Aug. 1982, San Diego, Calif.
  • SPIE Vol. 402, Three-Dimensional Imaging, J. P. Ebbeni and A. Monfils, Editors, 21-22 Apr. 1983, Geneva, Switzerland
  • SPIE Vol. 507, Processing and Display of Three-Dimensional Data II, J. J. Pearson, Editor, 23-24 Aug. 1984, San Diego, Calif.
  • SPIE Vol. 761, True Three-Dimensional Imaging Techniques and Display Technologies, D. F. McAllister and W. E. Robbins, Editors, 15-16 Jan. 1987, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • SPIE Vol. 902, Three-Dimensional Imaging and Remote Sensing Imaging, W. E. Robbins, Editor, 14-15 Jan. 1988, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • SPIE Vol. 1083, Three-Dimensional Visualization and Display Technologies, S. S. Fisher and W. E. Robbins, Editors, 18-20 Jan. 1989, Los Angeles, Calif.
Returning to the present, the Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference continues to track recent developments in stereoscopic imaging hardware and software technologies as well as maintaining a focus on the applications of stereoscopic imaging and investigations of the human factor aspects of stereoscopic displays. A primary function of the conference is to facilitate the exchange of current information on stereoscopic display technologies and applications.

This yearās conference commenced with a regular session of the conference, Human Factors in Stereoscopic Displays, chaired by John Merritt. The eight papers presented in this session examined various topics ranging from performance comparisons of using stereoscopic displays to the perception of stereoscopic images.

The next conference session, Autostereoscopic Displays, chaired by Shojiro Nagata, presented an area that continues to be of particular interest to the stereoscopic imaging community - evidenced by the large number of papers presented and the peak attendance of the three days of the conference. The nine papers presented in this session provided an update of recent development and innovation in this field.

The third session, on New Developments, was chaired by Andrew Woods. Three papers covered a wide range of stereoscopic imaging topics from the stereoscopic scanning and display of museum sculptures to the use of various morphing techniques to perform 2D-to- 3D conversion.

Following Mondayās technical sessions a special session was organized in celebration of 10 years of the Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference under the direction of chairs Scott Fisher and John Merritt. The Stereoscopic Video Screening Session, organized by Andrew Woods and Mike Weissman, showcased the wide range of stereoscopic video that is being produced worldwide. The session included the following (or sections of the following) 3D videos:

  • 'A New Dimension in Transport,' a corporate sales video for courier company Roadway Express; and 'The Diary of K.W.,' a video illustrating the effects of Alzheimer's disease from Anthony Coogan of StereoMedia Productions (Burbank, Calif.);
  • 'Space Rescue,' a computer-animated ride-film from VREX (Elmsford, N.Y.);
  • 'A Virtual Visit to New York City,' and the amusing short 'A Night at the Opera,' from Ray Hannisian of Ray3D (Carbondale, Colo.);
  • 'Thrill Ride in 3D,' part of a science museum exhibit at Scitech Discovery Centre (Perth, Australia), by CVA Film & TV (Perth, Australia);
  • 'The British Councilās Millennium Products' and a piece for the Museum of London by Brian McClave (London, UK);
  • Two examples of 2D-to-3D video conversion from Dynamic Digital Depth Inc. (formerly Xenotech) (Perth, Australia);
  • 'The Three D Approach,' a corporate video for construction company Thiess from Media Odyssey (Brisbane, Australia);
  • 'Statues,' by Al Razutis of Visual Alchemy (Los Angeles, Calif.); and
  • A promotional sequence for the National Hockey League (NHL) team, The Philadelphia Flyers, from Craig Adkins of D3P Multidimensional Media.
Tuesday started with a half-day session, Depth and Disparity Processing, chaired by Mike Weissman. The six papers presented in this session covered topics related to the processing of stereoscopic images for the purpose of extracting or manipulating disparity information.

The fifth session of the conference, Digital Stereoscopic and 3D Video: Communication and Entertainment for the Future, was a half-day session of invited papers organized by Janusz Konrad and Samuel Zhou. Following an introduction to the topic by the session chairs, six papers provided an overview of issues related to digital 3D video; from human perception of digital distortions, through digital 3D processing and compression, to implementations and applications.

The third day of the conference started with two short sessions chaired by Andrew Woods. The session Computer-based Stereoscopic Imaging consisted of three papers that discussed hardware and software for stereoscopic imaging in PCs. The next session, Stereoscopic Acquisition Systems, consisted of two papers that considered geometric analysis aspects of stereoscopic image acquisition.

A continuing feature of the conference is the keynote presentation, where an invited speaker is asked to discuss a high-profile area of stereoscopic imaging. This year, our keynote presenter was Director/Cinematographer Sean Phillips of Macleod Productions (Santa Monica, Calif.). Sean supervised the stereoscopic visual effects for the recently released IMAX-3D movie T-REX: Back to the Cretaceous and also worked on another recently released IMAX-3D movie, Encounter in the 3rd Dimension. Seanās presentation, introduced by Scott Fisher, discussed the various stages that go into the production of stereoscopic visual effects for the IMAX-3D format and especially the use of digital imaging techniques with the huge IMAX-3D film format. Seanās presentation included 2D slides and 3D video clips, with examples of the various elements used to generate a short effects shot from the T-REX movie that combined live action with computer-generated dinosaurs. Sean discussed how working with IMAX-3D in the digital realm presents benefits and problems - it allows zero lens distortion but a single stereo-pair frame constitutes about 80 MB of uncompressed data. Sean also presented a short stereoscopic effects shot he was currently working on for the upcoming Siegfried and Roy IMAX-3D feature. Seanās presentation was enjoyed by all and provided a very interesting insight into the future trends with the biggest of all 3D formats.

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

Papers presented at the Engineering Reality of Virtual Realty conference ranged in content from those with specific technological findings, such as that presented by Masataka Mauda of the Shibaura Institute of Technology on the diabolic generation of realistic multimedia contents corresponding to dynamic intentions, to papers outlining the progress of specific technologies in this field - for example the invited paper by Dan Wright that surveyed projection-based immersive displays.

Henry Sowizral chaired the early morning session, where the topic of discussion was software techniques and architectures. The Shibaura Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois at Chicago presented work on the support of a broad range of VR devices and on methods of generating multimedia content.

Jim Humphries then led a session that focused on the interface issues faced when designing and using virtual reality systems. Ian McDowall presented a paper on his latest work on immersive interaction interfaces; Roger Browse presented his ongoing series of papers on head tracking for viewpoint control; and Duncan Stevenson highlighted compelling systems that are based on a haptic workbench - a system that utilizes interaction with both touch and sight.

Scott Fisher had no problem holding the attention of the "after-lunch" crowd with his session on Systems and Applications. After an overview of a commercially available inertial tracking system by the TNO Physics and Electronics Laboratory, three papers were presented that described systems designed to train or otherwise modify human behavior. A collaboration between Stanford University and the NASA Ames Research Center detailed the use of a virtual environment for microsurgery training. Interface Technologies presented their work on virtual learning for preventing smoking in teens, and the University of Rochester gave highlights of their work on the development of a virtual laboratory for the study of complex human behavior.

Finally, Mark Bolas chaired a session on displays, which began with Mr. Wright's invited survey. The session then continued with three papers that discussed work being done on spherical and panoramic displays and image generation by the Optical Physics Consulting Company, University of Missouri, and Ricoh Corporation. Finally, a most- compelling optical system was presented by Mixed Reality Systems Lab., who brought along a magical optical prism that was passed around the audience; and Jannick Rolland presented a methodology for dynamic focusing in head-mounted displays.

A major highlight of this year's conferences was once again the hands-on demonstration session of Stereoscopic and VR Technologies and Applications, chaired by Michael Weissman and Andrew Woods. Demonstrations included:

  • Kaiser Electro-Optics Inc. (Carlsbad, Calif.) displayed their Proview XL-50 stereoscopic XGA-resolution head-mounted display (HMD). The HMD was connected to a stereoscopic video camera pair provided by John Merritt which provided a very interesting telepresence experience.
  • Dresden Technical University (Germany) displayed an improved version of their Dresden 3D display - a parallax-barrier-based autostereoscopic display that utilizes head/eye tracking.
  • David Mark from Space Age Design Engineering presented a computer system that used three Intergraph graphics cards and three polarized stereoscopic CRT displays to present a wide-screen stereoscopic flight simulation.
  • The Stereoscopic Displays and Applications web site (see below) was demonstrated on a wireless Internet-connected PC supplied by David Mark.
  • DENSO Corporation (Japan) demonstrated a TSS-LCD-based 120-Hz field-sequential display.
  • Ravi Rao of the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) demonstrated the computer-based stereoscopic display system discussed in his paper for the capture and stereoscopic display of objects such as museum artifacts and sculptures.
  • Cees van Berkel of Philips Research Laboratories (Redhill, UK) demonstrated the Philips 3D-LCD: an eight-view full-color autostereoscopic display with overall XGA resolution and providing a resolution of 384×256 per view.
  • The Slide Factory (San Francisco, Calif.) demonstrated the StereoJet full-color polarized 3D prints and transparencies.
  • Scion International (Miami, Fla.) demonstrated a double parallax-barrier-based autostereoscopic display that is used for medical imaging purposes.
  • Curtin University (Perth, Australia) demonstrated the DV120 3D Video Standards Converter for converting field-sequential 3D video between the PAL and NTSC standards.
  • John Miller of Volumedia (Los Gatos, Calif.) demonstrated two parallax-barrier-based autostereoscopic computer displays.
  • Mixed Reality Systems Laboratory Inc. (Japan) demonstrated two wide-field-of-view head-mounted displays with free-form-surface prism that provided stereoscopic VGA resolution.
  • StereoGraphics Corporation (San Rafael, Calif.) demonstrated their multiview lenticular autostereoscopic prints titled "Synthagrams."
  • Three new books, 3D Mandala, 3D Escher, and 3D Arts, by Sugiyama Makoto of ThinkLab (Japan) were presented. The books contain an integral mirror-type stereoscopic viewer for viewing the 2D-to-3D conversions of famous art works.
Photographs of these demonstrations can be seen at the conference web site (see below).

This year saw the first full year of operation of the official web site for the Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference. It has been designed to provide a public face and focal point for related activities during the interval between yearly conferences. The site contains a wealth of information about past conferences, including proceedings listings and galleries of photographs taken at past conferences. The site is kept up to date with the latest news about the upcoming conferences. Point your browser to:

It is satisfying to see the increasing popularity of the two conferences. Attendance has continued to increase each year, thanks to the diligent efforts of the conference cochairs, conference committee, authors, and those who provided equipment for the conferences and the demonstration session. The conferences also owe their success to the 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 continued 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. The chairs wish to acknowledge the many "above-and-beyond-the-call" efforts of Andrew Woods, who drafted this preface, has been a mainstay in organizing and publicizing the conference, and whose rich crafting of our new web site has been a key factor in the growing accessibility and visibility of our conferences.

John O. Merritt
Mark T. Bolas
Scott S. Fisher

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Maintained by: Andrew Woods
Revised: 16 June, 1999.