Hardcopy holography provides a method for displaying autostereo three-dimensional information in a manageable two-dimensional form. However, current hologram types require strict control of ambient lighting in the display area to correctly replay imagery. This fact has hindered the development of holography as a tool for visualization.
Unlike the standard transmission and reflection types, edgelit holograms are not susceptible to blurring from extraneous light in the viewing environment. This allows the Edgelit to be displayed in well-lit areas with little regard for other light sources such as fluorescent panels.
An edgelit hologram is illuminated at a very steep angle by a light source positioned nearby. Light is introduced through the edge of the hologram and directed onto it using the support block's total internal reflection to steer the beam.
Edgelit holograms have not yet been utilized in the mainstream display imaging due to the difficulties involved with their production. Research undertaken by SPI to expand the capabilities of the technique will enable holography to be more widely accepted as a tool for three-dimensional visualization.
In the future, applications of edgelit holography will include: holographic optical elements (HOE), such as diffusers, for interactive desktop displays; heads-up displays for transportation; and tools for visualizing medical data from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other three-dimensional imaging techniques.
This project is sponsored by the Digital Life Consortium at the MIT Media Laboratory and Honda R&D Co.
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