This dome’s no dummy

Actuality Systems is putting the finishing touches on a 3D display that allows users to see their data floating inside a clear viewing dome.

Reading, MA-based Actuality Systems is putting the finishing touches on a three-dimensional display that allows users to see their data floating inside a clear viewing dome.

The company expects to see benefits for users in pharmaceutical design, MCAD, and medical imaging who will be able to view volumetric imagery from any angle, without cumbersome goggles.

Three-dimensional imagery is created by projecting a series of 2-D bitmaps (‘image slices’) onto a diffuse screen that rotates at 600 rpm. Persistence of vision fuses the slices into a volume-filling 3-D image.

A modified three-panel Texas Instruments projector provides slices at approximately 4 kHz, resulting in 8-colour 3-D imagery comprised of roughly 200 radially-disposed slices which are updated at 20 Hz. Each slice has a resolution of 768 by 768 pixels, subtending 10 inches.

The display electronics includes a custom rasterization architecture which converts the user’s 3-D geometry data into image slices, as well as 6 Gbits of DDR SDRAM graphics memory.

Actuality Systems is making the 3-D Display compatible with several popular software packages for molecular visualisation and mechanical CAD. And if users wish to drive the display themselves, they can, thanks to the fact that the Display API is based on Mesa, the open-source graphics library.

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