A goldfish bowl in which 3D video images appear suspended in mid-air could help surgeons target tumours more precisely, air-traffic controllers prevent air accidents, and drug designers better understand the structures of promising molecules.
“On a 2D screen, a protein molecule looks like tangled spaghetti. But when it appears in our machine, you begin to fully grasp its 3D structure,” says Gregg Favalora of Actuality Systems, which is behind the $40,000 display.
As Favalora walks around his display, a 3D computer model of a protein molecule hovers inside its smoky white soccer-ball-sized sphere. At the click of a mouse, the molecule disappears and is replaced by images of two airliners on a collision course in simulated 3D airspace.
Favalora is showing off his Massachusetts-based company’s new product, Perspecta 1.9. It’s the first 3D display that lets users view 3D moving images by walking all the way around it, view from on top or below, or zoom in and out in real time. It was unveiled last week at the Society for Information Display’s annual exhibition in Boston.
By Celeste Biever