Spatial 3-D infrastructure: Display-independent software framework, high-speed rendering electronics, and several new displays

Won Suk Chun, Joshua Napoli, Oliver S. Cossairt, Rick K. Dorval, Deirdre M. Hall, Thomas J. Purtell, James F. Schooler, Yigal Banker, Gregg E. Favalora*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


We present a software and hardware foundation to enable the rapid adoption of 3-D displays. Different 3-D displays such as multiplanar, multiview, and electroholographic displays - naturally require different rendering methods. The adoption of these displays in the marketplace will be accelerated by a common software framework. The authors designed the SpatialGL API, a new rendering framework that unifies these display methods under one interface. SpatialGL enables complementary visualization assets to coexist through a uniform infrastructure. Also, SpatialGL supports legacy interfaces such as the OpenGL API. The authors' first implementation of SpatialGL uses multiview and multislice rendering algorithms to exploit the performance of modern graphics processing units (GPUs) to enable real-time visualization of 3-D graphics from medical imaging, oil & gas exploration, and homeland security. At the time of writing, SpatialGL runs on COTS workstations (both Windows and Linux) and on Actuality's high-performance embedded computational engine that couples an NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra GPU, an AMD Athlon 64 processor, and a proprietary, high-speed, programmable volumetric frame buffer that interfaces to a 1024 × 768 × 3 digital projector. Progress is illustrated using an off-the-shelf multiview display, Actuality's multiplanar Perspecta Spatial 3D System, and an experimental multiview display. The experimental display is a quasi-holographic view-sequential system that generates aerial imagery measuring 30 mm × 25 mm × 25 mm, providing 198 horizontal views.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number33
Pages (from-to)302-312
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2005
EventProceedings of SPIE-IS and T Electronic Imaging - Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems XII - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 17 2005Jan 20 2005


  • 3-D display
  • API
  • Autostereoscopic
  • Holographic
  • Medical imaging
  • Spatial light modulator
  • Volumetric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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