The physical world around us is three-dimensional (3D), yet most existing display systems can handle only two-dimensional (2D) images that lack the third dimension (depth) information. This fundamental restriction greatly limits human being's capability of perceiving and understanding the complexity of real world objects and high dimensional data. Uses of true 3D displays in biomedical research would lead to efficient, effective and accurate visualization and interaction on high dimensional cell structure, molecular, genomic medicine, and image data. Uses of true 3D display to clinical applications, such as image guided radiation therapy (IGRT), could eliminate the directional bias during the diagnosis, planning and interventions. Other examples of 3D applications include ophthalmology, endoscopy, bio-analysis, microscopy, &robotic surgeries. There are three classes of true 3D display technologies, namely multiview, volumetric, and computer generated hologram (CGH) displays. This SBIR project deals with multiview 3D display. Many multiview 3D display systems were developed, but all uses multi projectors. These systems could produce impressive visual results, BUT they are very expensive due to costs of multiple (up to 256) projectors. Xigen team takes an entirely new approach to the multiview 3D display design. Instead of relying on multiple projectors, we use single projector and clever opto-mechanical scanning mechanism to produce multiple virtual projectors for generating multiviews. This revolutionary single projector multiview (SPM) technique promises to reduce cost and complexity of a 3D display to a level comparable with that of existing 2D display. There are many technical challenges in the SPM design and implementation. We are not able to address all the technical issues in a single SBIR project. Instead, in this SBIR, we will focus on a criticl technical challenge for the SPM display, namely the high-frame-rate (HFR) image projector. To achieve high degree of 3D fidelity, large number of views is needed, requiring HFR. For example, at a standard 24Hz of 3D image refreshing rate, a sequential 128-view 3D display would need 128x24=3,072 Hz grey-scale (8-bit) images. To the best of our knowledge, no single projector exists that can achieve such a HFR, at any cost. Therefore, the primary objective of this SBIR proposed herein is to develop the novel HFR projector technology to facilitate the full color HFR multiview 3D display. Phase 1 specific aims are:
Aim 1 : Design and test a single color high frame rage (HFR) projector 1.1. Design intensity filter wheel (IFW) and explore electronic control technique for LIM. 1.2. Synchronize LIM with DLP's timing to produce 8-bit grey scale image.
Aim 2 : Design a full-color (24-bit) HFR projector 2.1. Select light source. 2.2. Design the TIR prism and projection optics. 2.3. Integrate three-chip DLPs into the assembly, alignment etc.
Aim 3 : Build a prototype of the HFR full-color projector 3.1. HFR projector integration. 3.2. Perform tests and evaluations on the prototype.
Aim 4 : Integrate HFR projector into a multiview 3D display testbed for evaluation 4.1. Integrate the HFR projector into a multiview 3D display testbed available at Xigen. 4.2. Preliminary evaluation of 3D display for clinical applications, prepare Phase 2 plan. HFR projector is a platform technology that can benefit other types of 3D displays as well: both volumetric and holographic 3D display requires HFR projector to achieve high resolution full color 3D display. Thus the success of this SBIR would significantly advance the state-of-the-art of the entire true 3D display field. The true 3D display is a fundamentally new technology platform that facilitates a broad range 3D/4D visualization applications in biomedical research and clinical applications. With the high performance (24-bit full-color with over 3,072Hz frame rate) and low-cost solution proposed in this SBIR, the true 3D display technology could serve as a viable tools to provide a new level of realism and add a new dimension (literally and figuratively) to the visualization tool available for biomedical research and clinical practices. It has broad impact on various aspects of healthcare practices, ranging from 3D/4D image visualization, image guided intervention, telemedicine, surgical replays, microscope/endoscope visualization, education, training, etc.

Public Health Relevance

True 3D display is considered as the Holy Grail solution to 3D visualization that can overcome the major limitations of 2D displays. The quest to produce high quality and cost effective 3D displays has continued for decades. In all three major technology categories (light-field, volumetric, and computer generated hologram (CGH) displays), high frame rate (HFR) projectors play a critical role in facilitating 3D image generation. However, the performance requirements (>3,000Hz grey-scale image projection) for HFR projection engine by true 3D display systems are quite stringent, beyond any product commercially available today, at any cost. Lack of qualified HFR projector as the enabling technology has greatly hindered the progress of true 3D display development in the past. We propose this Phase I SBIR develop a novel high frame rate (HFR) full-color projection engine for multiview 3D displays. The proposed HFR projector enables, for the first time, projections of 24-bit full color RGB images at a speed that allows sufficient number of views to form high quality 3D image, making the 24-bit full-color dynamic true 3D display feasible. The HFR projector is a platform technology applicable to various display mechanisms, including lightfield (multiviews), volumetric, and CGH displays. The proposed breakthrough in the HFR projector design could therefore lead to significant advances in the 3D display fields, and reducing overall costs of 3D display systems. The proposed HFR full color projector has the following advantages: 1) 24-bit color image projection at unprecedented high frame rate: The proposed HFR projector enables, for the first time, projections of 24-bit full color RGB images at a speed that allows sufficient number of views to form high quality 3D image. The proposed novel LIM scheme makes the 24-bit full- color dynamic true 3D display feasible. 2) Scalable benefit of the LIM: The novel LIM scheme significantly increases the frame rate for grey-scale and color image projection. For 8-bit grey-scale, the LIM leads to a 32 fold frame rate increase. For 12-bit grey-scale, the LIM scheme leads to a 341 folds increase of frame rate. The higher the grey-scale resolution, the greater the benefit of using the light intensity modulation (LIM) scheme. 3) Low-cost solution: Implementation of LIM only requires adding an intensity filter wheel (IFW) hardware component, which can be produced at ~$10 in mass production. 4) Platform technology: The HFR projector is a platform technology applicable to lightfield (multiviews), volumetric, and computer generated hologram (CGH) displays. The proposed breakthrough in the HFR projection engine design could lead to significant advances in the 3D display fields. 5) Extremely long life of light source: The lamp-free design facilitates extremely long life of light source, reducing maintenance and costs of total ownership. Laser source can also provide brighter color spectrum. True 3D display adds one more dimension, literally and figuratively, to the visualization tools in biomedical research and clinical applications: Intuitive 3D image visualization: Human body and internal organs are all of 3D shapes. Majority medical imaging modalities (CT, MRI, US, PET, etc.) are true 3D in nature. True 3D display offers intuitive and lifelike experience in visualizing 3D images from molecular-cellular levels to macroscopic levels;Improved accuracy/reduced errors in clinical interventions: Uses of true 3D display in clinical applications, such as image guided radiation therapy (IGRT), could eliminate the directional and depth bias during the diagnosis, treatment planning and interventions. The added 3D depth information allows users to operate much more accurately and effectively. Other examples include ophthalmology, endoscopy, bio- analysis, microscopy, &robotic surgeries. See the big picture: Medical images (e.g., 4D CT) are often qualitatively rich while quantitatively difficult o characterize. True 3D display could be an essential tool to assist clinicians to quickly extract useful information from huge amount of data, to see the big picture, and to make time-critical clinical decisions. Xigen has developed an integrated product development and market entry strategy. Based upon our market analysis, we have selected three vertical markets in which to develop 3D product(s) offering significant value propositions. They are: (1) Medical image displays, (~$1.5 billion);(1) 3D Entertainment, sports, games, advertising and 3D digital signage (~$2.0 billion);and (2) Government/Military 3D Data Visualization Applications (~$2.5 billion). Strategic partners are identified and have been working with Xigen on these commercialization efforts.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-SBIB-T (10))
Program Officer
Pai, Vinay Manjunath
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Xigen, LLC
United States
Zip Code