The StereoMirror display

The StereoMirror display
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September 14, 2005 Constituting the very latest in stereoscopic 3D technology is the SD1710 from Planar Systems. Designed to address imaging applications in geospatial intelligence and photogrammetry where geoscientists, cartographers, engineers, image analysts and environmental planners need 3D viewing to discern depth in the imagery and interpret spatial details, the SD1710 features crisp stereo imaging, comfortable viewing and dual use as a standard 2D monitor. Planar's SD1710 provides a new dimension of digital image quality and user comfort for those who need to accurately map terrain, monitor erosion, design mass transit systems, identify boundaries, plan missions and investigate habitats.

"When we first connected our DAT/EM Summit Evolution digital stereoplotter to Planar's SD1710, our development team was extremely impressed with the sharpness and clarity of the stereoscopic 3D monitor, rivaling that of older film-based analytical mapping systems," said Robert Bredlie, senior software engineer, DAT/EM Systems International. "Since then, the Planar SD1710 has received enthusiastic approval from our mapping and GIS industry clients."

Stereoscopic viewing of aerial and satellite photographs has been commonly used for decades in the field of geospatial intelligence. With the advent of digital photography, geospatial customers need high-resolution, superior-quality stereoscopic 3D monitors for photogrammetry that can also support image panning without blurring. Long-term viewing comfort for professional analysts who use stereo for an extended period is also critically important. With the more recent availability of low-cost satellite images for civilian uses, such as land use planning, bio-habitat management and even demographic market analysis, it is possible to improve the efficiency of this process with stereoscopic 3D viewing.

"Planar has taken a huge step forward in the quality of softcopy viewing systems with the introduction of its SD1710," said Gerry D. Bering, production manager, AeroMap U.S. "We are able to see considerably more detail in the difficult light areas, such as in trees and shadow areas, with Planar's 3D stereoscopic monitor. We would recommend it over all other softcopy viewing systems currently available."

Planar has partnered with companies such as BAE Systems, Boeing, DAT/EM Systems International and Matrox to demonstrate and validate this advanced stereoscopic 3D monitor design that meets the needs of customers who require an optimum way to visualize complex images and data. Stereo displays provide a quicker and more accurate extraction of information and offer a more realistic experience than conventional 2D viewing. Planar's SD1710 is the first desktop stereoscopic display to offer the desirable characteristics afforded by conventional AMLCDs, such as excellent image quality, high resolution, flicker-free viewing, ease of computer interfacing and a wide viewing angle that enables multi-viewer use. The SD1710 is also fully usable in normal office lighting.

"Key growth markets for 3D displays are in geospatial intelligence, scientific visualization and industrial design, medical systems and consumer monitors, such as for gaming applications," said Paul Semenza, vice president, displays and consumer electronics, at iSuppli. "Revenues from these market segments are forecast to grow at a compounded annual rate of 73 percent from 2004 to 2010. Products that provide high levels of image quality and viewing comfort will be in the best position to capitalize on this growth."

To view stereo images independent of position, the user wears comfortable, lightweight polarized glasses, similar to sunglasses. Because both eyes see a continuous flicker-free image, the monitor can be used for an entire workshift without discomfort. CRT stereoscopic displays can cause eye strain, headaches, or even nausea from alternately blinking right and left images. Autosterero (glasses-free) displays restrict users to position their head in a specific "sweet spot" with no room for movement over extended periods of time.

The SD1710 uses StereoMirror technology which provides the highest quality stereoscopic image available in a desktop monitor and is composed of two 17-inch AMLCD monitors in an up/down configuration separated at a 110-degree angle. A semitransparent mirror is positioned at a bisecting angle between the two monitors that when combined with polarizing glasses, generates the stereo separation. This unique beam-splitter approach creates a stereoscopic 3D monitor that retains the full resolution, response time and color saturation of the individual monitors.

Future imaging applications may include medical imaging, molecular modeling, CAD/architecture and computer gaming. It is available for immediate delivery with an MSRP of US$3,995. The SD1710 StereoMirror monitor and accessories are available through Planar and direct resellers. The standard warranty includes a one-year advance replacement service with two-day business shipping.

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