Larger displays for all-day viewing

Paul Boughton

Planar Systems, a worldwide leader in flat panel display systems, is announcing the latest advances in 3D stereoscopic LCD displays with the availability of its Stereomirror 20- and 23-inch wide monitors.

Planar's SD2020 and SD2320W deliver enhanced stereo image quality by offering greater resolution and enlarged screen-space, which is beneficial for photogrammetry, image exploitation, complex visualisation, 3D simulation and radiographic investigation.

In a tandem response to market demand and Planar's ongoing strategic effort for leadership and growth in digital imaging, the recently announced SD1710 has been evolved into two larger formats to continue the SD line's offering of superior image quality. The new 20- and 23-inch monitors will continue to offer industry-leading flicker-free crisp images and optimal user-comfort for engineers, geoscientists, cartographers, image analysts and environmental planners. The larger formats, intense depth perception and increased stereo contrast allow users to more accurately extract 3D data and differentiate.

In 2005, Planar partnered with companies such as BAe Systems, Boeing, DAT/EM Systems International and Matrox to demonstrate and validate this advanced 3D stereoscopic monitor design that meets the needs of customers who require an optimum way to visualise complex images and data. BAe customers have purchased Planar's stereo monitors for such applications as disaster relief support, cartography, targeting and analysing flight paths around airports.

Planar's Stereomirror monitors enable our customers to obtain clearbrighthigh-quality stereo imageswhich are crucial to the successful execution of their jobs says Dr A Stewart Walker, director of marketing for BAe Systems' Geospatial Exploitation Products business. Users of BAe Systems' Socet Set geospatial analysis software employ Planar's stereo monitor and aerial or satellite imagery for extracting 3D data of buildings, bridges, mountains or valleys. By offering the new 20-inch and 23-inch monitorsPlanar has increased size and resolution without compromising the stereo image quality or viewing comfort that enable photogrammetrists to work an eight-hour shift on a stereo monitor."

In addition to geospatial applicationsPlanar's entire SD series offers improved image sensitivity and precision for medical professionals. Mammographyfor exampleis considered one of the most difficult radiographic examinations to interpret and confirm in terms of detection and diagnosis. The complexity of breast x-ray images makes it difficult to discern abnormal features because of over- and underlying normal tissue. Radiologists challenged with discerning intricate x-rays can now improve the early detection of breast cancer by using 3D stereoscopic analysiswhich enables the radiologist to view the breast tissue in depth.

"We are currently conducting a study at Emory University in Atlantacomparing stereo digital mammography to conventionally used non-stereo digital mammographyto determine whether stereo mammography would provide more accurate detection of abnormal lesions andthusreduce unnecessary recall of patients. Initial results using Planar's prototype SD2250 indicate a significant reduction in false positives when stereoscopic viewing is used says Dr David Getty of BBN Technologies of Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Much like the SD1710, both the SD2020 and the SD2320W allow users to view stereo images independent of position, using comfortable, lightweight polarised glasses that are similar to sunglasses. Because both eyes see a continuous, full-resolution and flicker-free image, the monitor can be used for an entire shift without discomfort in normal office lighting. Alternatively, CRT stereoscopic displays can cause eye strain, headaches, or even nausea from alternately blinking right and left images. Autostereo displays, which do not require a user to wear glasses, restrict users, forcing them to position their head in a specific 'sweet spot' with no room for movement over extended periods of time while delivering full resolution to each eye.

The SD series uses Stereomirror technology to provide high-quality stereoscopic images in a larger desktop monitor and is composed of two 20- or 23-inch LCD 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 so that, when combined with polarising glasses, it generates the stereo separation. This innovative beam-splitter approach creates a stereoscopic 3D monitor that retains the full resolution, response time and colour saturation of the individual monitors, while also offering a dual use as a standard 2D monitor with the flip of a switch or by simply lifting the mirror. The SD series supports a broad platform of OpenGL, Directx and Windows-based applications utilising standard dual-DVI output graphics cards.

Beyond the applications for stereo 3D imaging today, Planar is exploring emerging imaging applications, including molecular modelling, CAD/architecture and PC computer gaming.

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