This new AI based method could be used for virtual reality, 3D printing and other applications.
A new method using artificial intelligence has allowed researchers at M.I.T. to be able to generate 3D holograms in real time.
When used for virtual reality, this method may help to reduce the sense of nausea among users.
Among the reasons that virtual reality has yet to become mainstream is that users often feel sick from the current experience. Despite the hype around VR technology, TV screens, computer monitors, and even smaller screens such as phones and tablets far exceed the video viewing experience of virtual reality.
The nausea and eye strain often experienced from VR is because of the lack of true 3D holograms. Instead, it creates an illusion of three-dimensional viewing when the viewer is actually seeing a fixed distance 2D display. This does not create the same visual experience for the eye as seeing something three dimensional. The M.I.T. researchers feel that using holograms – far from a new technology but remade for this purpose – could greatly change that experience for the better.
3D holograms offer a much more thorough representation of the three-dimensional world around us.
They offer a perspective that shifts with the position of the viewer and make it possible for the eye to adjust its focal depth from the foreground to the background.
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The pursuit of computer-generated holograms has been long pursued by researchers. That said, the process typically requires a supercomputer to work through all the physics simulations. This is time consuming, and the results are less-than-photorealistic.
That said, the M.I.T. researchers have found a way to generate them nearly instantly, by applying artificial intelligence. The method uses deep learning and is efficient enough that it can run on a laptop and produce results right away, said the researchers.
“People previously thought that with existing consumer-grade hardware, it was impossible to do real-time 3D holography computations,” said the 3D holograms study’s lead author, PhD student Liang Shi from the M.I.T. Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (E.E.C.S.). “It’s often been said that commercially available holographic displays will be around in 10 years, yet this statement has been around for decades.”