Investigation into screenless 3D TV

Christian Moller*, Ollie Cossairt, Stephen Benton, Lucy Stockbridge, Adrian Travis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


If a three dimensional image is to be projected into mid-air in a room with bare walls, then light must follow a curving path. Since this does not happen in a vacuum, a gradient must be introduced into the refractive index of air itself, which can be introduced by varying either the temperature or pressure of air. A reduction from 300 °C to room temperature across the front of a 1 mm wide ray will bend it with a radius of curvature of 3 m. However the temperature gradient cannot be sustained without an unacceptably aggressive mechanism for cooling. The pressure gradients delivered by sound waves are dynamically sustainable, but even powers as extreme as 175 dBm at 25 kHz deliver a radius of curvature of only 63 m. It appears that something will have to be added to the air if such displays are to be possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-44
Number of pages14
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Sep 12 2003
EventStereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems X - Santa Clara, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 21 2003Jan 24 2003


  • Heat gradient
  • Mirage
  • Refractive index gradient
  • Screenless TV
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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