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 Student Perspectives
 Christopher Blackwell
Project Title: Holographic 3D Displays
Holoxica/Heriot-Watt University
Supervisors: Javid Khan and Xianzhong Chen
The Project
The objective of this project
is to enhance the field of 3D visualisation, focusing on both hardware and software. The current field is primarily concerned with virtual and augmented reality techniques as these technologies reach maturity, while this project aims to improve headwear-free displays such as volumetric and lightfield displays. These have seen less development despite their distinct advantages in comparison to VR, AR, and stereoscopic displays. The applications of these displays are also investigated by this project; 3D medical visualisation being considered an area in which significant advantages could be seen through the use of 3D display technology.
A benchtop setup of a solid-state volumetric display architecture has been demonstrated, using an array of tuned resonant-cavity LEDs, high speed projector and diffractive
optical element to form 20 stacked image planes in free space.
A full-colour 5.5” lightfield display prototype was developed using
a dense 4K display and lenticular sheet. A patent for a projection lightfield display architecture has also been patented.
Three pieces of software have been developed around this prototype and new commercially available light field displays. These are used in real time 3D model presentation, medical data visualisation and telepresence, respectively.
We foresee the developed Volume Viewer application improving the ability for radiologists to analyse scan data quickly and thoroughly, as well as better communicate these results to patients. 3D telepresence meanwhile may revolutionise communications between people, allowing for more natural interactions and having further potential in applications such as 3D telemedicine, more important than ever in these times. Our work on glasses-free 3D visualisation has even wider-reaching impact; from displaying animated models to a group of viewers as a presentation tool, to replacing 2D anatomy textbooks in medical teaching and training.
The CDT Programme
The programme has been exceptional for me, bridging the gap between academia and industry.
I have been provided with a wide variety of education in physics, engineering, and programming
as well as business and entrepreneurship. This has been followed by the chance to apply
and develop those skills further
in industry, working on significant projects with my sponsor company and acting as an integral part of their team. Though less connected to the university than a PhD student, the CDT has always kept me connected with the department and the rest of my cohort with group training and conferences, ensuring that I still feel like a part of the university rather than an industry employee with extra oversight.
They have also been very receptive of all our feedback regarding the programme, as well as eager
to inform of or even organise additional training that could be of use to us.
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