Apple files patent for holographic 3-D display

Apple has filed a patent application for a “Three-dimensional Display System,” the United States Patent Office revealed today.

Apple’s Abstract:
A three-dimensional display system provides a projection screen having a predetermined angularly-responsive reflective surface function. Three-dimensional images are respectively modulated in coordination with the predetermined angularly-responsive reflective surface function to define a programmable mirror with a programmable deflection angle.

Claims include:
A three-dimensional display system, comprising:providing a projection screen having a predetermined angularly-responsive reflective surface function;determining the left and right eye locations of at least one observer;projecting left and right three-dimensional sub-images toward the projection screen; andmodulating the sub-images respectively in coordination with the predetermined angularly-responsive reflective surface function to respectively direct the left and right sub-images substantially exclusively to the respective left and right eye locations.

A three-dimensional display system, comprising:providing a projection screen having a spatial filter defining a predetermined angularly-responsive reflective surface function;determining the left and right eye locations of at least one observer substantially facing and in proximity with the projection screen;projecting left and right sub-images of a three-dimensional image toward the projection screen; andangularly and intensity modulating the left and right sub-images respectively in coordination with the predetermined angularly-responsive reflective surface function to define respective discrete light paths that respectively direct the left and right sub-images to reflect from the projection screen substantially exclusively to the respective left and right eye locations to provide a three-dimensional viewing experience.

Descriptions include:
Although much more realistic, a dynamically presented holographic image also requires far greater computational ability and bandwidth than is generally required for a two-view stereo display. Effective means are also noticeably wanting for dynamically recreating the original wavefront, or an acceptable facsimile thereof, in real time and at commercially acceptable costs. Thus, a need still remains for highly effective, practical, efficient, uncomplicated, and inexpensive autostereoscopic 3D displays that allow the observer complete and unencumbered freedom of movement. Additionally, a need continues to exist for practical autostereoscopic 3D displays that provide a true parallax experience in both the vertical as well as the horizontal movement directions.

The patent app was originally filed on September 20, 2006.

Full patent application filing here.

55 Comments

  1. Imagine a pair of glasses (or something more elegant) that plugged in to you iPhone. When you open the Map program, you input the location of where you want to go, and instantly, you get a HUD showing a big arrow saying “go that way!” and a floating marker in space above your destination.
    Or how about a locator for the person you are talking to.
    Or maybe a rendering of a building that you could peel back the layers of.
    Or an interactive FPS game that you could play out in a big field, with 3D enemies running around to shoot at.
    Or a flight simulator.
    Or a photo editing app that floated images in space in front of you, editable with your fingers.

  2. So, Apple is making Star Wars and Star Trek a reality for us all. Can’t wait for the transporter to be made available.
    Ooops, there goes the auto industry and our problem with oil disappears.

  3. @ChrissyOne
    I hope that comes with an iVomit bag – for when all that cross-eyed interaction begins to take its inevitable toll on the user. The main reason these things have never caught on, even though the tech has been around for donkey’s years.

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