Japanese R&D Agency Brings Hatsune Miku to Life with Realistic 3-D Tabletop Projector
posted on by Eric Stimson
At SIGGRAPH Asia 2015, a conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques, Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology turned a few heads with its innovative new 3-D projector, which resembles a tabletop and beams images that can be viewed from all angles (360°).
The new technology, fVisiOn, was demonstrated in two ways: with characters that fight each other, and with a miniature Hatsune Miku, who energetically danced within the small projector area. The characters appear when cards are placed on sensors around the projector, which read the embedded data and display it as an image. The images will even appear on mirrors if they are placed nearby.
The projector uses 288 RGB LED liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) projectors placed in a ring beneath the surface (although for convenience the number was cut to 200 for the demonstration). Each projector is part of one of 12 "modules" that is responsible for 30° of projection. These projectors are relatively cheap — a few thousand yen, or a few dozen dollars — but since the complete unit requires 288, the total cost is about 1,440,000 yen (or $11,700), pushing it beyond commercial viability for now. To prevent the image from being distorted into a Picasso-like jumble, a conical optical unit beneath the surface concentrates and organizes the images first.