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Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems XIII (2006)
Proceedings of the SPIE Volume 6055



Introduction

Welcome to Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems XIII, Proceedings of Electronic Imaging Vol. 6055. These proceedings combine in one volume the papers from two separate but complementary conferences: Stereoscopic Displays and Applications XVII and The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality 2006. These conferences were two of the 25 conferences that composed the 2006 IS&T/SPIE Electronic Imaging: Science and Technology Symposium, held at the San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, California, USA, in January 2006.

Stereoscopic Displays and Applications

This year's Stereoscopic Displays and Applications (SD&A) conference, the 17th in the series and held during the three-day period 16-18 January, featured a broad range of topics, presentations, and events.

The first day of the SD&A conference hosted four technical sessions: Applications of Stereoscopy, Medical Applications of Stereoscopy, Stereoscopic Human Factors, and Stereoscopic Projection and Stereoscopic Cinema. The technical sessions form the backbone of the conference and their content is detailed in the papers contained in this Proceedings volume.

The final formal session of the first day was the 3D Theatre Session, chaired by Andrew Woods and Chris Ward. The purpose of this regular event is to showcase examples of how 3D video is being used and produced around the world. This year the following 3D videos (or segments thereof) were screened on the conference's high-quality polarized stereoscopic rear-projection systems:

  • "Space News in 3D" by Enxebre Systems (Spain)
  • "Cosmic Cookery" by University of Durham (UK)
  • "Desarrollo Sostenible (Sustainable Development)" by Centro Politecnico Superior, University of Zaragoza (Spain)
  • "Battle for Treasure Castle" by 3D Experience (UK)
  • "Underwater 3D" by Curtin University of Technology (Australia) and Welaptega Marine (Canada)
  • "daVinci robot test target manipulation" by Intuitive Surgical
  • "Up Denali 3D (teaser)" by Tree-D films
  • "Misadventures in 3D" by nWave (Belgium)
  • "Santa vs. the Snowman" by O Entertainment
  • "Paratech rescue equipment corporate film" by Lightspeed Design Group
  • "Kings City, Eilat Israel Preshow" by Lightspeed Design Group
  • "Transitions" by NFB Canada
  • "Falling In Love Again" by NFB Canada
  • "PB Heading for the Future" by Parsons Brinkerhoff
  • "Livin' LG" by 21st Century 3D
  • "The Gates 3D" by 21st Century 3D
  • "Pump-Action" by Phil McNally / Captain 3D
  • "Monk Seals" by Arquimedes (Spain)
  • "Wasol Demo" by Wasol (South Korea)
  • "SimEx-Iwerks ‘Super 3-D’ Demo Reel" by Simex / Iwerks
  • "The World Herritage 'Shiretoko' and other samples" by NHK Technical Services (Japan)
The 3D videos were all played back either from a DepthQ stereoscopic media server or from a field-sequential DVD through a field-sequential 3D demultiplexer. The source resolution of the material ranged from field-sequential NTSC up to dual-channel 1920×1080i.

The evening concluded with a very enjoyable meal at the BoTown Chinese Restaurant in downtown San Jose. It was a good chance for nearly 70 conference attendees to mingle and talk in a relaxed atmosphere.

The second day of the SD&A conference hosted four technical sessions on the following topics: Stereoscopic Image Processing, Stereoscopic Rendering, and Autostereoscopic Displays (double session). Again, the papers from these technical sessions are contained in this Proceedings volume.

The final event of the day was the ever-popular Demonstration Session - this year expanded as an event for the entire Electronic Imaging Symposium. It was pleasing to see such a wide variety of stereoscopic imaging systems on display and an even larger audience actively engaging with the various displays. This annual session is the perfect chance for attendees and visitors to obtain handson and eyes-on experience with the latest in stereoscopic displays and imaging systems.

    This year the following items were on display at the demonstration session::
  • Mike Weissman and Tom Riederer from Micro Vision Systems demonstrated "TrueVision", a real-time, HD (1280×1024×2 @ 30p), 3D video camera system for stereomicroscopes. Live micro-stereoscopic video was displayed on a Planar stereoscopic display.
  • Siemens Display Technologies presented the SXD3 1899 1MP 18.1" multiview autostereoscopic color flat panel display.
  • Professor Eun-Soo KIM provided information about the 3DRC (3D Display Research Center) at Kwangwoon University, South Korea.
  • Craig Crawford from 3-D ImageTek Corp demonstrated a range of their stereoscopic video products including a "genlock-free" 3D multiplexer, 3D demultiplexer, and 3D scan doubler.
  • Chris Ward from Lightspeed Design Group demonstrated the Infocus DepthQ stereoscopic video projector showing stereoscopic video played using the DepthQ stereoscopic media server software.
  • David Chenault from Polaris Sensor Technologies demonstrated their 10.4", full frame rate, full spatial resolution, passively polarized flat-panel stereoscopic LCD monitor.
  • John Miller from Dep3D demonstrated a variety of stereoscopic PC games and stereoscopic video on their 40" dual rear-projection circularly polarized stereoscopic display.
  • Jason Goodman from 21st Century 3D (New York) demonstrated the "3DVX3" high-definition stereoscopic video camera and showed 3D video on a Sharp AL3D laptop.
  • Julien Flack from Dynamic Digital Depth demonstrated the TriDef Vision+ for automatic conversion of 2D video to 3D, displayed on a 30" 3D LCD display from Arisawa (Japan) and viewed using circularly polarized 3D glasses.
  • Researchers from the University of Southern California demonstrated their stereoscopic panorama software on a Sharp AL3D laptop and stereoscopic interaction performance test software running on two 3D displays, one autostereoscopic and the other a CRT using LCS 3D glasses.
  • Peter Sun from Sun Advanced Engineering (Japan) and Shojiro Nagata from InterVision Institute (Japan) demonstrated the software “HD-Renderer” for stereoscopic video playback.
  • Eric Kurland demonstrated his dual-camcorder stereoscopic camera system and polarized 3D viewing system based on two LCD monitors viewed through a half-mirror.
  • John Rupkalvis demonstrated a miniature stereoscopic camera and polarized 3D viewer based on two LCD monitors viewed through a half-mirror.
  • Steven Smith from IN3D demonstrated the 3D LANC Master developed by Damir Vrancic (J. Stefan Institute, Slovenia) connected to a pair of Sony HDV cameras. The 3D LANC Master can synchronize two Sony camcorders (selected models only) via the LANC connector.
  • Robert-Paul Berretty and Guido Volleberg from Philips (Netherlands) demonstrated their 42” nine-view autostereoscopic LCD flat-panel display.
  • Avi Yaron and Shachar Arieli from Visionsense demonstrated a single miniature stereoscopic sensor suitable for use in endoscopes and other applications. Sample 3D video from the camera was shown on a Planar stereoscopic display and an eMagin stereoscopic HMD.
  • IMAX corporation (Canada) provided some technical literature about the IMAX 3D process and gave out movie posters for two new IMAX 3D movies: "Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D" and "Deep Sea 3D."
  • Xiao Hui Wang from University of Pittsburgh displayed their stereoscopic display workstation for viewing radiographic images in real-time. Stereoscopic images were viewed on an eMagin stereoscopic HMD.
  • Nick Holliman from University of Durham (UK) showed the 3D movie "Cosmic Cookery" on a Sharp RD3D autostereoscopic laptop.
  • Charles McLaughlin of Fergason Patent Properties and Patrick Green from Planar Systems demonstrated a Planar StereoMirrorTM (SM) stereoscopic display. 3D content shown included stereoscopic medical imaging images.
  • Ingo Relke from Newsight (Germany) demonstrated a Newsight multiview autostereoscopic display.
  • Tatsuo Saishu from Toshiba Corporation (Japan) demonstrated a prototype of their 15.4" flatbed-type autostereoscopic display system.
  • Boyd MacNaughton from MacNaughton, Inc. and Jean-Étienne Gaudreau from PolarScreens (Canada) demonstrated a prototype of their Photonics 19" full spatial resolution passively polarized stereoscopic display.
  • Kevin Gilson from Parsons Brinkerhoff showed a 3D promotional video using a DepthQ projector and a series of 3D phantograms.
  • Helmut Jorke from Infitec (Germany) demonstrated an Infitec stereoscopic projection system.
In addition, the 3D Consortium had a booth in the exhibit area which showcased stereoscopic products from various 3D Consortium member companies. Pictures of the demonstrations listed above will be available at the conference website: www.stereoscopic.org

In parallel with the demonstration session, the 10 SD&A conference poster authors presented their posters in the symposium-wide poster session.

Also on display on Tuesday and Wednesday was a Phantogram Exhibit organized as an event of both the Electronic Imaging Symposium and the Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference. Last year’s exhibit was such a popular event we just had to do it again. This year’s phantogram exhibit included works from the following authors and artists: Terry Wilson, David Kesner, Shab Levy, Barry Rothstein, Gary Greenspoon, Gilbert Detillieux, Sam Paechter, Shahrokh Dabiri, Dennis Wiens, Dan Jacob, Robert Chow, and Kevin Gilson. The phantogram exhibit was coordinated by Terry Wilson.

The third day of the SD&A conference hosted three technical sessions on the following topics: Integral 3D Imaging, Stereoscopic Software, and Stereoscopic Developments. The papers from these technical sessions are contained in this Proceedings volume.

Two special events held on the third day of the conference were the discussion forum and the keynote presentation.

This year’s discussion forum had the title "Stereoscopic Digital Cinema - The Way of the Future or a 9-Day Wonder?" The forum was chaired by Charles Swartz, Executive Director/CEO of the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California (USC). The panelists for the forum were Lenny Lipton, CTO, REAL D; Ray Zone, The 3-D Zone; John Rupkalvis, Stereoscopic Consultant, StereoScope International; and Neil Feldman, Senior Vice President, In-Three, Inc. The discussion forum format always has a very interesting dynamic and provides a good way of exploring aspects of stereoscopic imaging not normally addressed in the technical presentations. It also always elicits a different type of interaction with the audience. The discussion forum was recorded and will be made available at some point.

The highlight of this year's Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference was the Keynote Presentation titled "3D Animation in Three Dimensions (The Rocky Road to the Obvious)," presented by Hugh Murray, Vice President of Technical Production at IMAX Corporation.

The fact that animation created using CG modeling and animation tools is inherently three-dimensional is well known. In the middle-to-late nineties IMAX Corporation began actively exploring CG animated features as a possible source of economically viable content for its rapidly growing network of stereoscopic IMAX® 3D theatres. The journey from there to the spectacular success of the IMAX 3D version of The Polar Express is an interesting mix of technical, creative, and production challenges. The talk covered several of the technical issues encountered in such a production and explained why the unique viewing experience enabled by the wide-angle geometry of IMAX 3D theatres makes it worth all the pain.

Hugh’s presentation provided a very interesting insight into the landmark film which is credited in part with triggering the current revival of 3D cinema and the remastering of several 2D animated movies for 3D release (including the recent Chicken Little 3D). Hugh’s presentation included stereoscopic projection of some of the 3D titles on which he has worked. Titles shown included Sign of the Seahorse, Santa vs. the Snowman, The Polar Express, and a special preview of IMAX’s 2D-to-3D conversion process on a sequence from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. We thank Hugh for his insightful presentation and look forward to seeing more 3D movies from IMAX in the near future.

Please note that the two terms "conversion" and "remastering" have been used very carefully in the previous paragraph. By our definition, "2D-to-3D remastering" refers to the process of taking computer animation files which have been originally created with the intention of only producing a 2D movie, and then taking those files and re-rendering them to produce the second eye view to create a stereo-pair and hence a 3D movie. This obviously can only be done with computer animation based on 3D models. The Polar Express is an example of this process. In contrast, "2D-to-3D conversion" involves taking any existing 2D movie (images only) and regenerating synthetic depth in the image by a combination of manual and semi-automatic processes. The quality of 3D content created using "2D-to-3D conversion" varies greatly and depends upon a range of factors including the amount of work that is performed converting each frame, the type of 2D content that is being converted, and the technology that is employed in the conversion process. The segment of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban shown during the keynote presentation is an example of "2D-to-3D conversion." It is worth highlighting the fact that the term "conversion" is sometimes used to refer to the "remastering" process described above, however, the technology of "conversion" and "remastering" are obviously very different.

Many individuals and companies contributed in various ways to make this year's SD&A conference a very successful meeting:

  • This year the SD&A conference was formally sponsored by MacNaughton Inc. (Beaverton, Oregon), In-Three, Inc. (Westlake Village, California), and IMAX Corporation (Mississaga, Canada). Conference sponsorship is a very valuable way for companies to support the running of the conference and gain valuable marketing exposure. All of these companies are at the forefront of 3D developments and we thank them for their support. We are also pleased to report that despite two of our conference sponsors being in litigation at the time of the conference, not a single drop of blood was spilled on the conference floor.
  • We appreciate the support this year of the JVC North American R&D Center, who provided their high-quality high-definition 1080P stereoscopic projection system based on a pair of JVC DLA-HD2K-SYS projectors (which natively output left-handed and right-handed circular polarization from each projector) for the duration of the conference.
  • The conference committee plays an important role throughout the year, ensuring the correct technical direction of the meeting. Sincere thanks go to Gregg Favalora, Nick Holliman, Janusz Konrad, Shojiro Nagata, Vivian Walworth, and Michael Weissman.
  • The ability to present high-quality large-screen stereoscopic images and video at the conference is an extremely important part of the conference. Many people and companies contributed hardware, software, and expertise to make this a truly impressive show. Particular thanks go to Brad Nelson of Nelsonex (Shoreham, New York), Chris Ward, Michal Husak, and Dan Lawrence of LightSpeed Design Group (Bellevue, Washington), Spectrum Audiovisual (Denver, Colorado), Rod Sterling and Rob Buddle from JVC (Cypress, California), Julien Flack from Dynamic Digital Depth (Australia and USA). Conference video equipment included two JVC DLA-HD2K-SYS projectors (1920×1080P) with digital video processors, 8×4.5-foot stereoscopic rear-projection screen (provided by JVC); DVD player, 3D demultiplexer, two QD line doublers, 8×6-foot stereoscopic rear projection screen (provided by Nelsonex); two DepthQ Stereoscopic Media Server computers and software (LightSpeed Design Group); two Eiki LC-X70 LCD projectors mounted as a stereopair, SVHS Player and general AV equipment (Spectrum Audio Visual); and 3D demultiplexer (DDD). This year the audience was provided with circularly polarized 3D glasses to view both stereoscopic projection screens.
  • Thanks to the demonstration session presenters for bringing equipment to show to the conference attendees. Some equipment traveled from overseas, making the contribution to the meeting particularly praiseworthy.
  • Thanks to engineer Stephan Keith, who again performed the role of AV monitor this year.
  • Thanks to Perry Hoberman, School of Cinema-Television, University of Southern California for hosting the lunchtime discussion round tables. This provided an informal opportunity for attendees to discuss various stereoscopic topics over lunch.
  • Thanks also to the staff at IS&T and SPIE, who were instrumental in helping organize the meeting.
  • Most importantly, we must thank the conference authors and attendees, who ultimately made this meeting such a successful event.
This year two prizes were on offer to presenters at the SD&A conference. The prize for "the best use of the available stereoscopic presentation tools during the conference technical sessions" was won by Kevin Gilson from Parsons Brinckerhoff for his presentation "Stereoscopic display of 3D models for design visualization." Kevin’s presentation made use of almost every stereoscopic presentation tool available to him: stereoscopic video, stereoscopic stills, polarized and anaglyph, and even phantograms. The prize for "the best SD&A presentation" was awarded to Avi Yaron from Visionsense Inc., for his presentation "Blur spot limitations in distal endoscope sensors." Avi’s presentation discussed new methods for stereoscopic image acquisition in a clear and well-illustrated manner. Each prize was a copy of the new book "Earthquake Days - the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire in 3-D" by David Burkhart (ISBN: 0977330567). The book features over 100 stereoscopic photographs taken all in San Francisco around the time of the earthquake and fire. Both prizes were kindly donated by David Burkhart, Faultline Books <www.1906quake.com>.

At last year’s conference we agreed to encourage more papers on the topic of applications of stereoscopic displays, and it was great to see two full sessions this year dedicated to this important aspect of 3D displays. These sessions were very well attended, were very insightful, and amply illustrated with lots of stereoscopic content. We will again be actively encouraging papers on the topic of applications of stereoscopic displays for the 2007 conference.

Conference activities don’t stop at the end of the January meeting; the SD&A conference website provides a focus for conference activities during the year between conferences. We will be seeking abstracts for the 2007 conference in April through June. You can join the conference mailing list to receive conference announcements - just visit the conference website for details. The SD&A conference website also provides a focal point for many activities and provides a timetable for important meeting deadlines. It also has an extensive collection of photographs highlighting the activities of past conferences. The website also hosts the stereoscopic virtual library, from which three full e-books in pdf format are available for free download. Visit the conference website to gain an understanding of the past, present, and future of stereoscopic imaging, and, most of all, think now about presenting a paper or attending next year’s conference. The Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference website is located at: www.stereoscopic.org

The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality

The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality conference this year contained four sessions, each with a group of papers centered on a topic area. The first session explored procedures for creating and presenting VR applications. The first paper, from Rostock University in Germany explored a method for automatically creating level of detail models from high resolution texture mapped sources. The hierarchy of different LOD models preserve the ability to easily apply surface textures. The next paper presented an approach for dealing with projection onto a spherical display/environment called the Cybersphere at the University of Warwick, UK. By modeling the way in which the light from a projector falls on the outside of a sphere, the authors propose to warp the image from a PC onto the exterior of the sphere. This mapping is implemented on a PC in DirectX and enables general PC applications to appear “square” when projected on the sphere. The final paper of the session, from Optical Design Labs in Arizona, introduced the idea of presenting high dynamic range images into a Cave type Environment and the challenges of dealing with all the IO and control mechanisms one might wish to use in a Cave environment.

The second session of the day presented three interesting papers in the area of applications of VR technology. It turned out that all three were from the UK. Researchers at Cardiff University presented a web-based interface for maintenance and technical support applications. The examples shown from the water and ventilation hygiene industry were most compelling. It was great to see a clean clear interface which used HTML pages with embedded VRML Cosmo player windows. This interface was combined with a database containing the assemblies and individual part drawings which seemed to work smoothly. The next presentation, which was from the University of Warwick, stepped through some of the barriers and successes in pushing for the adoption and use of virtual environments in the construction industry in the UK where MicroSation CAD is used. The presentation included a more detailed description of the CyberSphere, and everyone in the audience was intrigued with the idea of walking around on the inside of a tracked sphere resting on omniIngodirectional air bearings. The final paper in the session, from Queen’s University, Belfast, introduced the audience to an approach for making an economical laparoscopic simulator. The simulator project included the development of low-cost tracking methods using mechanical linkages to encode the tool motions into rotations which could then be measured with potentiometers. The tool motion was then used in a graphical simulation of the surgical field.

The third session expanded the conference's emerging focus on understanding the inherent nature of virtual reality through artistic exploration. Margaret Dolinsky started the session, The Medium, with her paper Inverse Perspective, in which she discussed the potentiality of a methodology for creating perceptual shifts in virtual environments. Virtual reality and the unfolding of higher dimensions was then presented by Julieta C. Aguilera. She employs a four-dimensional grid to augment reality in terms of structure and the relationship among its parts. Daria Tsoupikova explored how the aesthetics of the virtual world affects, transforms, and enhances the immersive emotional experience of the user in her paper Framing the Magic. The final paper of the session, Virtual Reality, Immersion, and the Unforgettable Experience, described examples from prior virtual reality pieces and put forward several avenues of thought concerning how we might reinvigorate these types of VR explorations to create unforgettable experiences.

The last paper session presented various aspects of viewpoints in virtual worlds. The first paper of the session, from the University of Tsukuba, Japan, presented experiments with a remote robot driving around. In their simulations, they experimented with presenting the view from the robot in various perspective ways to see how people perceived the remote space. The next paper, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, presented an approach for visualizing the placement and setup of cameras. By using computer graphics techniques such as alpha blending and projected textures, the authors showed how one could visualize camera arrays by treating each camera as a projector in a virtual environment of the real world. The final paper in the session, from the University of Southern California, University of Buffalo, and the Art Institute of Chicago, presented work on the incorporation of audio into public presentations of virtual experiences. The delivery of spatially encoded audio to a group in a noisy trade show environment is challenging. The incorporation of audio with a visual environment creates a far richer and more engaging experience for the participants.

Following the papers, there was an extended period for a live stereoscopic demonstration session including Rutopia 2, a magic garden which combines Russian folk icons, images, colors, textures, and sounds; Margaret Dolinski's Cabinet of Dreams, a VR display that highlights Chinese art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art; and Julieta C. Aquilera's projection of tesseracts into the third dimension.

Thanks to all the authors who submitted papers and to the audience members who came to hear their presentations. We would also like to thank Brad Nelson for leaving the stereo display set up until the end of the day so that the audience could see the virtual demos presented at the end of the session.

Conclusion

Next year the Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference and The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality conference will be held in the period 28 January - 1 February 2007, at the San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, California, as part of the 2007 IS&T/SPIE Electronic Imaging: Science & Technology symposium. Note that Photonics West will be held the week before, also at the San Jose Convention Center. The 2007 conferences promise to continue a tradition of presenting and demonstrating the latest technologies relevant to stereoscopic displays and virtual reality. Please consider attending, presenting, or demonstrating at the 2007 Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference and The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality conference. We hope to see you there!

Andrew J. Woods
Mark T. Bolas
Neil A. Dodgosn
Ian E. McDowall
John O. Merritt



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