An image of metrology data captured with the FoLDMS.

An image of metrology data captured with the FoLDMS.

August 31, 2017 Austin, TX.  FoVI3D installed the first ever light-field display metrology system at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as part of the Small Business Innovative Research Program, Holographic Light-field 3D Display Metrology (HL3DM).  Dr. Darrel Hopper and his team in the 711 Human Performance Wing initiated this effort to support the test, validation, and performance evaluation of a new class of emerging display technologies.  FoLD 3D visualization systems that enable multi-user full-parallax viewing of complex 3D data without eyewear, are being developed with the aim of increasing the productivity of operators and analysts in Operations Centers.  Currently, the lack of validated metrics (physical and perceptual) is a major hindrance for the successful technology transition and commercialization of such FoLD systems as holographic, volumetric, multi-planar and light-field displays. 

The FoVI3D delivered Field of Light Display Metrology System (FoLDMS) consists of a mechanical sweeping gantry for a pair of stereo cameras capable of measuring both horizontal and vertical field of light displays.  The delivery includes three FoVI3D custom applications to characterize, capture, record, and qualify physical light-field performance.  A companion Human Factors Metrology Application (HFMA) is under development to understand and quantify the psychophysical measurements associated with FoLD systems.

“This effort has afforded many unique challenges such as the capture of ethereal, 3D aerial images from multiple perspectives from which to quantify FoLD metrology.  But it has been the decomposition of those images into actual 3D aerial metrics that posed the greatest opportunity for exploration,” Dr. Abhishek Bichal, FoVI3D Metrology Engineer. 

Thomas Burnett, CTO, states that, “These methodologies and applications will allow researchers and engineers to better understand the physical and human factor properties of their displays, removing much of the subjective nature of light-field display design and development.”  As the computation architect of the first ever interactive light-field display table, he understands both the challenges and needs for a practical, automated, repeatable process to define the visual performance of these emerging displays. 

Led by the U.S. Air Force in the early 1990s, the digital pixelated flat panel displays (FPD) class of 2D displays went through this metrics and metrology development phase.  By the early to mid-2000s, the main 2D display technology on the planet (by units shipped and dollar sales) transitioned from the analog cathode ray tube (CRT) class to the FPD class.  This epochal shift from CRTs to FPDs could not have occurred without the FPD test and evaluation methodologies and standards.  By developing a practical, affordable, and repeatable evaluation procedure, a similar acceptance in 3D FoLD systems will be created.