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Holographic GPU renders at near real-time speeds

by on August 26, 2009

holographic-renderingHolographic displays are the ultimate in passive glasses-free 3D, displaying a scene that allows for multiple simultaneous viewing angles based on the actual viewing location without any fancy head tracking, however the details behind making it are incredibly complex.  In a new paper in ‘Optics Express’, Japanese researchers reveal a new video card capable of ‘near real-time’ Holographic renderings.

Well, researchers in Japan have created a graphics card, called the HORN-6, that can do this for you. It consists of four Xilinx field programmable gate arrays (FPGA), each of which has about 7 million gates and a bit of memory (less than 1MB). Each FPGA is connected to 256MB of DDR RAM, while a fifth, smaller FPGA is used to manage the PCI bus.

These FPGAs divide the area of a 1,920 x 1,080 LCD and calculate the intensity of each pixel using a ray-tracing algorithm that also tracks the phase of the light—the phase allows the interference pattern to be calculated. In a nice bit of engineering, as the block size that each FPGA can process (e.g., the local storage limit) is completed in just under the time it takes to fetch the next block from memory. This allows the researchers to keep the FPGA load pretty much constant by prefetching data.

It’s impressive, but the ‘0.08fps’ isn’t really what I’ld call ‘real-time’, but as an early FPGA prototype, it could run especially faster if dedicated hardware is used.

via Holographic GPU renders at near real-time speeds – Ars Technica.