3D Holographic Images And Heinlein's Stereovision Tank

In 1961, Robert Heinlein described a "stereovision tank" that would provide for three-dimensional television service. Dr. Harold Garner and his research team have used a gel-filled tank and a Texas Instruments Digital Light Processing (DLP) Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) to generate dynamic three-dimensional views from holograms.


(From Agarose Gel Tank Setup)

The concept of using a DMD is a direct application of holographic principles. The individual micromirrors (16 X 16 microns) on the DMD are like large grain film emulsion. All the physics applicable to large grain emulsion reflection holograms are applicable to DMD holograms, except the DMD alters the wave front by deflecting/oscillating the micromirrors (see related links below). The advantage of the DMD over film is the 60 Hz refresh rate for changing the hologram being viewed. This enables the possibility of real time display which is impossible for film emulsions.
(From Holographic Imaging)

The full system uses a tank filled with Agarose gel as a "reconstructor" medium for the image.

This is how Robert Heinlein described a stereovision tank in 1961:

Opposite his chair was a stereovision tank disguised as an aquarium; he switched it on, guppies and tetras gave way to the face of the well-known winchell Augustus Greaves.
(Read more about Robert Heinlein's stereovision tank)

Here's what the Garner 3-D holographic image tank looks like:


(Gel Tank Photo)

Don't look for these in your living room just yet; initial applications being studied are medical visualization and coordinating military battlefield information.

Read more about it at the Garner Holographic Imaging website; story from Spacedaily.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/21/2005)

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