“3D has always been the holy grail of display,” asserts Zine Bouhamri, PhD. Technology & Market Analyst at Yole Développement (Yole). “Indeed it represents the world as human eyes see it. Today goal of display technologies is clearly to match closely the performance and capability of the human visual system.”
As of today many challenges such as the image or display resolution, the number of viewers, the field of view… remain to be solved. When most of these challenges will be overcome, then several waves of adoption could set up, announces Yole in its latest display report, Next Generation 3D Displays. The market research and strategy consulting company investigates the 3D display world and proposes a comprehensive overview and a deep understanding of the today’s technologies and their challenges, Yole’s analysts reveal in this report, the technology status and the related issues. They identify the numerous applications and analyze the ability of the technology to penetrate each market segment.
When will the adoption start? What will the main applications be? Who is doing what today/tomorrow? What is the technical positioning of each key player and the strategy behind? How will evolving the competitive landscape? From imaging to display, Yole invites you to dive into 3D displays.
“The 3D display industry does not have many players but it is becoming better structured with companies emerging from stealth mode,” explains Zine Bouhamri from Yole. “We are at a time when VR is well-recognized by the consumer market. AR has seen some hiccups and is now mainly targeting industrial markets. Hence, the next hyped display technology, 3D, has arrived with many promises. But the challenge is addressing all physical and psychological cues corresponding to the human vision system and how it sees objects.”
For several decades now, the military has financed many projects on 3D displays. It is of utmost interest to be able to see every angle, as if being there, battlefield digitizations on table top displays. But it can do other things, like visualizing 3D satellite data. Medicine also benefits greatly from visualizing 3D data. For example, imaging the human body with MRI or CT gives 2D slices. It is possible to rebuild that into a 3D model and display it in 3D to make better use of data.
The recent trend of having 3D data at one’s disposal, or almost, thanks to 3D sensing in particular, gives the 3D display industry new ideas. If one has a set of 3D data, one might as well display it. That is why Yole’s analysts have seen great traction coming from the automotive industry over the past few months for in-cockpit 3D displays, either heads-up or regular. In recent examples, Continental partnered with and invested in Leia, Volkswagen did the same with SeeReal, while Bosch and Hella invested in Light Field Labs. This follows the trends for advanced driver assistance systems for autonomous vehicles, and trying to find new ways to alert drivers.
Yole has seen some plans and even trials in consumer markets by a few companies, the most famous being Leia with the Red Hydrogen One smartphone during summer 2018. But the traction is not great, mostly because of associated technical challenges and consumers looking for perfect display solutions.
“There are many technical challenges to overcome to deliver on what is expected,” comments Pierrick Boulay, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole. “One that is hard to pass by is the required computing power. The recent uptake in 3D display comes from a Moore’s law-type of improvement of the global supply chain. Pixel size has diminished, display resolution has increased, and manufacturability of optics and micro-optics has been increased tremendously. But first and foremost, the increase in available computing power has allowed for better and better prototypes, and even the first products.”
Computing is one of the major challenges across the entire 3D display landscape.
But efforts have been focused on identifying and discussing the display and optical elements existing or in development. Important topics include spatial light modulators, lasers, diffractive optical elements and associated wafer level optics, and the trend toward 8K panels.
Now, depending on the kind of displays developed and the technical challenges addressed, players are tending to closely focus on one specific segment.