Geo Week News

December 27, 2010

Welcome Apple to the 3D discussion


What was that I was saying about 3D displays and patents? Sure, a volumetric display that would help hospitals and the military see 3D better is important, but you know what’s more important to the growth of the industry?

Something that allows everyone to experience 3D, all the time, even on their phones.

Such as the technology for which Apple has just been granted a patent.

You’ll soon discover that I’m a major Apple fanboy (apologies to those Windows enthusiasts among you – I will disparage Windows fairly often in this space), and it’s because their stuff has such wide appeal. Their technology just works. Plus, it’s almost always elegant and efficient. Imagine that approach applied to holographic imagery, like this:

It states: “An exceptional aspect of the invention is that it can produce viewing experiences that are virtually indistinguishable from viewing a true hologram.

“Such a “pseudo-holographic” image is a direct result of the ability to track and respond to observer movements.

“By tracking movements of the eye locations of the observer, the left and right 3D sub-images are adjusted in response to the tracked eye movements to produce images that mimic a real hologram.

“The invention can accordingly continuously project a 3D image to the observer that recreates the actual viewing experience that the observer would have when moving in space around and in the vicinity of various virtual objects displayed therein. This is the same experiential viewing effect that is afforded by a hologram.

“It allows the observer, for example, to move around a virtual object and top observe multiple sides from different angles.”

So, you’re a surveyor and your client has an iPad. You send him a point cloud of the site you’ve just mapped for him. He loads it and can put it on the table and walk around it, seeing the cloud from every angle, enabling him to make the most-informed decision possible. What two things will he love? 1. The iPad. It will seem like the coolest thing he’s ever held in his two hands. 2. You. Because you made it happen.

Or, you’re a facilities manager trying to make an argument for a specific renovation. You take your iPad to the CFO and say, “I need to go from this to THIS. See how much easier the access for the delivery vehicles will be? We’ll save $500 a day in reduced gas from idling alone.”

Also, just the idea of Apple and holograms gets the imagination going. They never have planned what people think they have planned. The speculation alone will be a blast, as will the Steve Jobs-in-3D jokes.

This is the early front-runner:



I got that from a discussion board here, but I’m sure there are hundreds more all abuzz with this news, full of idle speculation.

And why must the speculation be idle? Because Apple comments on nothing. I’d call them for comment on their 3D plans, but I know from experience that they grant exactly zero interviews about their business plans.

Which, of course, increases the fun of the speculation…

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